What’s a guarantor for renting an apartment?
In the context of a lease, the landlord may ask for a guarantor, sometimes making it an essential condition for renting a place to live.
What’s the role of a guarantor? Who can be a guarantor? Why request a guarantor? What are the supporting documents? We’ll help you answer all these questions.
What’s a guarantor and what is their role?
When someone wants to rent an apartment or a house but the landlord doesn’t think their income is sufficient, a guarantor can be requested. Zoom in on their role!
Whether the landlord is the owner of the dwelling or a real estate agency, it is within their rights to ask you for a guarantor. The guarantor is a person who will vouch for you. This means that if you are not able to pay your rent or a portion of your rent, the guarantor will take over by paying the rent (or remaining portion of the rent) in your place. The person who agrees to be guarantor therefore agrees to pay your rent to the landlord.
The guarantor basically commits himself or herself on two levels:
- To pay your rent and your expenses in case of a failure on your part, as well as any interest on late rent payments.
- To pay any repair costs for any damage you are responsible for and for which you don’t have the financial means to have repaired.
As such, rent is guaranteed for the property owner. The guarantor is legally responsible for the payment of your rent and repairs if you run into difficulties. It provides financial security to the landlord, who is guaranteed to receive your rental payments regardless of your situation. In other words, if you don’t pay your rent, the guarantor will pay it for you, but you will be financially indebted to that person. The guarantor will then have recourse, namely to initiate a procedure to evict the property. Indeed, a guarantor is a support only in the event of occasional difficulties.
The guarantor is often a person close to the renter, whether a parent or grandparent, etc. For the owner or the real estate agency to accept that person as a guarantor, the person you choose must meet certain criteria. In particular, they must have a residential address in France. They must also have an employment contract, and their income must be three times more than the amount of the rent. If the person you choose as guarantor fails to meet one of these criteria, the landlord has the right to deny them as guarantor.
When can a landlord request a guarantor, and is it a legal obligation?
As the guarantor is acting as joint guarantor. It guarantees that the property owner will be paid their rent, so they therefore have the right to require it in certain circumstances and according to your financial situation.
In order to be assured, a landlord can ask for someone to act as joint and several guarantor for you in the following situations:
- If you are currently a student
- If you are not a citizen
- If you don’t have an income or if you don’t collect your income in France
- If you’re employed, but you’re in your probationary period
- If you’re employed, but if your income is not steady or consistent
- If your net income does not equal at least three times the amount of your rent
Having a guarantor is, however, not legally required, even if some owners make it a non-negotiable condition. A rental agreement can nevertheless be signed without you having a guarantor. But in reality, the vast majority of landlords require a guarantor, and sometimes even several in certain situations. It’s not mandatory, but it’s often very helpful if you want to have a better chance that the owner will rent to you.
Your guarantor’s commitment to the owner must be in writing, whether in the form of a private agreement or in the form of an official agreement drawn up before a notary. This agreement will be kept in the owner’s rental file, but the guarantor should also have a copy.
Here’s a list of supporting documents that the owner can ask the guarantor to supply:
- A form of id
- Proof of residence that’s less than three months old
- Most current tax returns
- An employment contract or any other document proving income
- Supporting documents relating to possible real estate revenues
- Proof of pension if the guarantor is retired
How to rent without a French guarantor Or with no guarantor
If you have no one who can be your guarantor, there are still things you can do. Among the specific measures allowing a future tenant to rent without a guarantor is having insurance in place of a guarantor. Indeed, various insurance companies offer insurance to cover unpaid rent, which offers the advantage of being available to the tenant.
To increase your chances and to facilitate your application being approved, this option could be of interest to you.