It’s difficult to know what your landlord wants or what you’ll need to qualify for during the application process when you’re looking for a lease for the first time. Even if you have a sufficient income and a decent credit score, you may be denied rental approval unless you have a co-signer or guarantor on the lease. If you’re unsure of what a lease guarantor is, we’ll explain it in detail in this article, including the requirements for being a guarantor.
Who is a Guarantor on a Lease?
A rental lease should be straightforward: the tenant agrees to pay rent on a monthly basis and to pay for any damages. However, as many landlords have learned the hard way, many seemingly reliable tenants fail to pay rent on time or are otherwise financially irresponsible.
Many landlords need lease guarantors to lessen risk before approving leases for young, inexperienced, or credit-risky renters.
A lease guarantor, in simple terms, is someone who cosigns a rental lease with the intended renter. They commit to paying the rent if the tenant does not do so at any time throughout the lease’s duration. Guarantors are frequently parents, friends, or family members, especially if the potential tenant was formerly one of their dependents. This is because they take on a great lease of financial responsibility for the prospective tenant.
It’s worth noting that guarantors and cosigners are sometimes used interchangeably because they share many of the same responsibilities with tenants. Cosigners, like guarantors, are responsible for paying rent if the tenants fail to do so. Lease guarantors, in essence, offer landlords with some financial security.
What is a Guarantor Lease?
A guarantor lease is virtually identical to a conventional rental lease. The exception is that it contains one or more clauses stating that the lease guarantor is responsible for the tenant’s failure to pay rent or other expenditures on time.
Because landlords don’t want to have too many payment cycles where they aren’t collecting money from one or more tenants, guarantor contracts are frequently required for building ownership or new tenants.
However, not just anyone can sign a guarantor lease. Most landlords go through a screening process with possible guarantors to verify they have adequate money and excellent credit to be trusted. Additionally, rent guarantors should be aware that if one or more businesses check their credit throughout the screening process, their credit ratings may be compromised.
Why Do You Need a Rent Guarantor?
There is frequently a financial requirement to become a tenant. In New York City, landlords frequently demand that tenants earn 40 times the monthly rent. This condition is difficult or impossible to achieve for many first-time renters and young professionals. This is especially true for those living in costly locations like San Francisco. There, the average rent for a studio apartment is roughly $2,300. If your salary falls short of your landlord’s requirements, you might ask a financially secure guarantor to co-sign your lease instead.
If you have no rental history or credit history, or if your credit score is low, you may require a guarantor. Because recent grads may not have had much time to establish credit, landlords may be unable to verify financial responsibility. Tenants with poor credit may have a tough time finding landlords prepared to take on the risk. So, a guarantor might help them get through this hurdle.
What Is the Purpose of a Rent Guarantor?
A rent guarantor is a piece of insurance for landlords who don’t want to risk renting their home to tenants who aren’t as trustworthy as they appear.
Lease guarantors and/or cosigners are frequently required for tenants who:
- Are young adults who are renting for the first time and have a limited income that may fall below the necessary minimum (usually 40 times the monthly rent).
- Are students who may be sharing space with others
- Have recently started a new work and do not yet have a steady income
- Are unable to provide a tenant referral.
The potential tenant isn’t as desirable a renter as the landlord would like in each case. A lease guarantor, on the other hand, allows the landlord to approve tenants like these without taking on too much personal risk.
Other alternatives for landlords include asking for a substantially greater security deposit or requiring the first and last month’s rent to be paid in advance. However, having a cosigner or guarantor is usually the best approach to ensure a steady stream of rent money.
A cosigner or guarantor is always legally obligated to pay rent on behalf of the tenant. Rather than having to settle for a larger-than-average lump payment in the form of a security deposit or last month’s rent, landlords may bank on steady income in the case of a delinquent tenant.
Cosigner vs. Lease Guarantor
The phrases guarantor and cosigner are sometimes used interchangeably in rental leases, however they are not interchangeable.
Lease guarantors are legally obligated to pay rent if the tenant to whom they are obligated fails to do so. Lease guarantors, on the other hand, do not share the lease with the tenant they are financially protecting.
Cosigners, on the other hand, are held to the same financial obligations as lease guarantors. They are frequently added to the lease as an additional possible renter. Cosigners have the right to occupy the property in question. This is particularly true if the current renter vacates while in arrears on their rent.
Cosigners have a little more leeway when it comes to living arrangements. A cosigner on a rental lease can, for example, live in the apartment and pay their fair share of the rent. They do this while also taking responsibility for the remaining money if the other tenant defaults.
Bottom line: If cosigners live in the same property as their co-tenant, they may be held instantly liable for rent. Lease guarantors do not live in the same building as the present renter. They are only responsible for paying rent if the current tenant fails to pay.
What Are the Requirements For a Lease Guarantor?
For someone to qualify as a guarantor, landlords typically require tight financial benchmarks. They are frequently stricter about these than they are about prospective tenants’ finances.
Guarantors are normally required to have the following qualifications:
- An annual income of 80 to 100 times the monthly rent
- Pay stubs and/or tax returns with a good income and payment history
- A Social Security number assigned to the person.
- Creditworthiness is demonstrated by a high credit score.
Landlords often only accept guarantors who they believe will be able to pay the rent if the renter they are signing for fails to pay.
Who can act as a guarantor for you?
Anyone can theoretically act as a loan guarantor. Most renters, however, use the help of family members or close friends to shoulder this financial burden.
Some businesses, on the other hand, will volunteer to act as a guarantor on a lease agreement in exchange for a fee. First-time renters should carefully select their guarantor and keep in mind the guarantor’s enormous financial burden.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Having a Guarantor Lease
Guarantor leases have a number of significant benefits, including:
- If a tenant does not pay on time, the landlord has the option of suing a third party for damages or back rent. Many guarantor leases even allow landlords to go straight to the guarantor rather than the renter if they don’t get paid on time.
- If a tenant is delinquent for one or more reasons, having a guarantor on the lease can help prevent eviction.
However, guarantor leases have a number of drawbacks, including:
- Having a guarantor on the lease implies that if the guarantor fails to pay rent, the landlord will have to go to court again, which could be more costly.
- Not all guarantors are ready to pay rent for whatever damages their cosigner may suffer, making the eviction or payment recovery process even more difficult.
How to Make a Lease with a Guarantor
Landlords can readily create guarantor leases. Guarantors sign identical copies of the same lease as their cosigners. After all, they must cover all of the same financial and property duties as regular tenants.
Keeping this in mind, a guarantor lease should include the following important components:
- A list of all parties involved, including the guarantor, the tenant, and the landlord.
- A list of the landlord’s and tenant’s specific responsibilities.
- The rules that govern who is permitted to live on the land.
- The terms of the lease, including the procedure for terminating the lease.
- Option to acquire the property, if applicable.
- Periods of notice
- The amount of the security deposit and the due dates
Before providing a guarantor lease to potential tenants or their guarantors, it’s usually a good idea to have it reviewed by a legal or real estate professional.
Should Landlords Conduct Background Checks on Guarantors and Cosigners?
Without a doubt, wise landlords rigorously check every candidate who wants to rent their properties. Cosigners or guarantors should be equally treated the same way. Guarantors should have many of the same qualities as potential tenants. These include credit scores, proof of job, and income, as well as a thorough background check.
All of this helps to ensure that a possible guarantor is trustworthy enough to take on the title and rent payments if necessary.
Should Landlords Give Preference to Applicants Who Do Not Need a Guarantor?
Landlords have the freedom to select qualified candidates for their properties as long as they do not discriminate on the basis of protected characteristics or classifications. As a result, landlords can and should typically favor applicants who do not require a guarantor. This is because these renters are more financially secure and are more likely to pay their rent on time.
A landlord is not required to choose a tenant who requires a guarantor or cosigner if they can demonstrate that their decision is legal and in accordance with all fair housing regulations. In many circumstances, hiring a suitable candidate who doesn’t require one of these extra people is a better long-term financial decision.
Is It Possible to Change a Guarantor on a Lease?
A guarantor can be changed at any moment by having the new guarantor fill out an apartment application. We will next produce a lease modification agreement. This names the new guarantor, assuming the new guarantor passes the credit score requirements.
If a guarantor is no longer able to guarantee a lease (due to death or bankruptcy, for example), a new guarantor must be obtained before the next lease renewal. The new guarantor will have to fill out and pass an application for an apartment.
In general, lease guarantors and cosigners are quite similar. But they have one notable exception: cosigners may live in the same building as their cosigned tenants. A cosigner or guarantor on a lease allows landlords to accept tenants who might not otherwise be eligible for a rental lease. Landlords are, however, not obligated to accept tenants who require guarantors in any circumstances.
Guarantor On Lease FAQs
Who can be my guarantor?
It’s usually a parent or spouse (if you have separate bank accounts). It can also be a friend or relative. However, you should only act as a guarantor for someone you know and trust, as well as someone for whom you are ready and able to cover the repayments.
Why do I need a guarantor?
You may need a ‘guarantor’ in order to rent a home. If you don’t pay your landlord what you owe, they may seek payment from your guarantor.