What to Know If You Need an Apartment Guarantor

August 2020

Landlords want one basic thing: tenants who can and will pay on time. During the application process they look at things like your credit score, rental history, income, and employment. This background helps to determine if you qualify for a lease on your own. If certain standards are not met, you may need a cosigner/guarantor to secure a lease. For many people, especially those just starting out, having a guarantor can mean the difference between having your own home or continuing to live with friends or relatives. Here are a few key things to know if you need an apartment guarantor.

What is an apartment guarantor?

An apartment guarantor is someone who signs the lease with you and assumes your financial obligations under the lease, should you be unable to meet them. Typically, the guarantor does not live in the apartment, but they are subject to the same legal requirements (rent and any damage that occurs).

How do you know if you need a guarantor?

Landlords will typically determine if you qualify for a lease based on your own financial status and background first. If you do not meet their standards, they may inform you that a guarantor is required. If you are turned down for a lease without explanation, ask the landlord if a guarantor will help you secure the lease. 

What are common reasons a guarantor is needed?

There are a number of reasons why you may need an apartment guarantor. Common reasons include:

  • Student status
  • Lack of credit history
  • Poor credit history (e.g. previous defaults, court orders, or bankruptcy)
  • New job
  • Insufficient income
  • Poor rental history

Who typically signs a lease as a guarantor?

It’s very common for young adults to lack the credit and financial history that landlords require for a lease. Often times, a parent or family member steps in to assist, assuming that person is in a stable financial position and agrees to serve the role. A guarantor might also be a friend, coworker, or even a business. For example, a company seeking a highly-trained young worker might agree to serve as a guarantor for the worker’s apartment, especially in highly competitive markets.