Landlords will usually ask students for a home-owning adult who lives in the UK to act as a guarantor for their obligations under the tenancy contract. If you are unable to provide such a guarantor, landlords will often ask for some other form of security instead, which usually means asking you to pay several months’ rent in advance.
Exactly what a guarantor is being asked to guarantee depends on the wording of the guarantor agreement. Most agreements ask that the guarantor agrees to pay to the landlord any money due under the contract, should you not pay. This usually covers not just rent, but also any damage or other breach of contract, such as not returning the property in a suitably clean condition.
Very importantly, if you are being asked to sign a joint contract (put simply, one on which all tenants are named and are agreeing at the same time), the guarantor is likely to find themselves guaranteeing all tenants. This is because, by signing a joint contract, you are agreeing to be legally liable with all tenants for all breaches of contract. If your guarantor is guaranteeing your obligations under the contract, they are agreeing to guarantee your joint liability. This means that, should one tenant fail to pay their share of the rent, the landlord can pursue all tenants and all guarantors for the missing amount. In practice, most landlords will initially pursue only the non-paying tenant and guarantor but they choose to do otherwise if the guarantor agreement allows them to.
In some circumstances, where a student is unable to find a guarantor, Cardiff University will act as guarantor in respect of rent payments for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
If you are struggling to find a guarantor the University asks you to do the following:
- Try a different agency, all agencies have different terms and conditions
- Consider living in halls of residence where a deposit is rarely required
- Establish if you can collect the money for an extended deposit
- Talk to an adviser in the Advice & Money Team.
Cardiff University Guarantor Scheme
The scheme is open to;
- Fully registered Cardiff University students in attendance at university for the complete period of the tenancy. (The scheme does not cover writing up periods)
- Overseas, EU students or home students who require a guarantor and are unable to make alternative provision.
- Undergraduate or Postgraduate students in their second or subsequent year of study and first-year postgraduates who have just completed an undergraduate qualification at Cardiff University.
In addition, the University will check the following:
- You have sufficient funding to cover your rent (proof of your student finance for this academic year or proof of compliance with UK tier4 visa financial commitments if applicable)
- You have a satisfactory academic record and on track to progress to the following year
- You have a satisfactory accommodation record
- You have no university debts (library fines, unpaid tuition fees, outstanding emergency loans etc)
Limitations of the Cardiff University Guarantor Scheme
As with any scheme, there are a few rules and restrictions to consider.
- It will only cover unpaid rent; it won’t cover any other costs such as unpaid bills or damages.
- If you enter into a joint tenancy agreement, the guarantee will only cover a pre-agreed amount only, this usually means your “share” of the rent, not others in the house.
- The scheme encourages you to seek tenancies with landlords or letting agencies on Cardiff University Housing List. The benefit of going with this list is that the landlords are all aware of the scheme and they don’t charge an administration/agency fee.
Applying for the University Guarantor Scheme
If you want to apply to the scheme you need to make contact with the Advice & Money Team, in the Student Support Centre. You must apply to the scheme before you agree to a tenancy. It’s a good idea to get approval before you start looking for properties. There is a £40 administrative fee. Further information is available on the University Guarantor Scheme intranet page.
You will be expected to make payments for rent directly to the landlord, in line with your tenancy agreement. Where unexpected circumstances arise and you think you will have a problem paying some or all of the rent due, you must get in contact with the Advice & Money team, before the rent payment is overdue.
Be aware though, that if you leave the property before the end of the tenancy, without the Landlord’s permission, you are liable for the rent until the end of the tenancy agreement.
If the University is approached by your Landlord due to the guarantor agreement, they will get in contact with you. If the University is called upon to pay out under the guarantor scheme, the amount spent will be added to your student account as a debt to Cardiff University. The money must be repaid by you before the start of the next academic year. The debt will be subject to the University debt recovery procedure and debt policy.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410