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What you should know about guarantors and private accommodation in the UK

A rental contract is a big commitment for both tenant and landlord. Source: Shutterstock

Private accommodation is a great alternative for international students in the UK. They’re usually set in newer, arguably better locations, offering a lot more independence than university-provided student halls.

As they are typically owned by a third-party provider, your dealings with them will be slightly more difficult (but still easily manageable) than dealing directly with your university.

Among them is the need to show you have a UK-based guarantor if you want to live in their private space. Here’s what you need to know about this requirement:

1. The guarantor is liable to pay your rent if you don’t

According to UKGuarantor.com, a guarantor is someone who will potentially take on the “main responsibilities” of your rental contract. In the event your rent payment is in arrears, for example, the landlord will contact your guarantor to pay any due debts.

2. Guarantor protects landlords 

Since rental agreements usually involve a long and expensive transaction, landlords must know that you are able to afford the rent. As international students, it’s not possible to rely on other proof of ability to pay such as age, employment or history in the UK. Hence, to protect yourself and ensure the rental contract is upheld, a guarantor is needed.

3. Your guarantor must be a UK resident

This will ensure that the private landlord can resolve any issues from within the UK, particularly if there’s any legal action required. Take note that there could be additional requirements to this, such as requiring your guarantor to have a certain level of income or property ownership in the country.

4. Look out for university partnerships with private providers


Some universities have partnerships with private accommodation providers to expand housing options for students. For example, the University College London has partnered with Student Homes from the 2018/19 academic year to offer UCL students more housing options located in central areas of London, all no more than a 30-minute commute to UCL.

In such cases, your university may be able to act as your guarantor.

5. Alternatives

Under certain circumstances, it may not be possible for all international students to get themselves a UK-based guarantor for their student accommodation. In such cases, they can refer to providers such as Student.com which employs booking consultants who can talk you through your options.

Additionally, you can always seek a property where a guarantor isn’t required. Landlords or property owners may also ask you to pay your rent in advance – significant portion or all – in lieu of providing a guarantor.

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