When you rent a new apartment, you’ll need to prove that you’re able to pay rent. Sometimes, this can require having a guarantor sign the lease with you as “insurance” that you’ll pay on time. But what is a guarantor, and how can you find a guarantor for apartments?
A guarantor is a person with good credit who agrees to co-sign on behalf of someone else and be responsible for the rented space, its condition, the rent and any fees incurred over the rental period.
Being a guarantor means that you “guarantee” someone else’s lease by becoming liable for rent or any other charges if the tenant cannot pay. If you have insufficient credit or rental history, landlords may be more likely to accept you as a tenant if you have a guarantor.
A co-signer is someone whose name is also on the lease and also lives at the property. Keep reading to learn the difference between a guarantor vs. co-signer.
Guarantors function similarly to co-signers in that they are responsible for rent in case the tenant is unable to pay. However, unlike co-signers, guarantors don’t live at the address; they function as “insurance” if the tenant is unable to pay rent.
Co-signers are often spouses or roommates, whereas guarantors can be parents or older family members that are financially stable enough to back you up on your lease.
Landlords want to be sure that their tenants are responsible, will care for the unit and will be timely with rental payments. If your credit history is weak or too short to have established your credit-worthiness, a potential landlord may be hesitant to allow you to rent from him or her.
A guarantor can solve this problem by assuring the landlord that it will still be taken care of if you cannot pay for rent or repairs. You may be required to have a guarantor if you fit any of the following:
If you fit into any of the above categories, you might want to consider looking for a guarantor to back you on your lease.
Co-signing could be risky when it's for someone with bad or unreliable credit. It's best to ask family members or close friends who trust you and know you well to be your guarantor. However, you should be sure that your guarantor fits the following qualifications:
Landlords or property managers are more likely to accept applications with guarantors who are close to potential tenants, so they know it will be easy to collect payment from them in case the tenant doesn't pay.
It’s not always possible to find a guarantor to sign your lease. If you have poor credit or rental history, there are some alternatives you can turn to instead of having a guarantor sign your lease.
Apartment guarantor services can help you qualify for rentals that you may not be eligible for by yourself. While family members as guarantors typically don’t require payment, guarantor services do have extra fees involved. This can be difficult depending on your financial circumstances.
If you’re unable to find a guarantor, you can offer to pay a higher monthly rent or a larger deposit. You might want to provide a larger security deposit or two or more months of rent upfront to offset the risk that the landlord takes on when renting to you.
Sublets are a good option for people with poor rental or credit histories. When subleasing an apartment, you’re contractually obligated to the primary tenant instead of the landlord. However, it’s important to ensure that the sublease you’re entering into is legal since some apartments ban sublets.
Many “mom and pop” landlords are more lenient with renters than apartment rental companies would be. Since rental companies have a large volume of units to occupy, they can choose the best candidates for each apartment. Meanwhile, you can develop relationships with mom and pop landlords to build trust. They may even look past a lower credit score.
Guarantors can help poor applicants get into rental properties they otherwise wouldn't. If you know your rental or credit history needs some work before it would qualify you for the housing you want, see if you can get a family member to be your guarantor.