Why You Might Need an Apartment Guarantor on the Lease

Author: Lauren Ross

Father and daughter looking over an apartment lease agreement.

Apartment hunting is an exciting time for a soon-to-be renter. You’ve found a great apartment just one transit stop away from your job. The only thing standing in your way is your short financial history and lack of a rental past.

Don’t let that stop you from renting your dream place. Those who may not qualify on their own for an apartment should consider an apartment guarantor or a co-signer. They both mean the same thing in that a guarantor/co-signer on the lease is guaranteeing to the property manager that the rent will be paid if the tenant falls behind or defaults on payment.

An apartment guarantor doesn’t live in the rental. You will. Having a guarantor can help you get you into that perfect apartment of yours.

Reasons Why You Might Need an Apartment Guarantor

Financial reliability among applicants is a major determinant for property managers. Apartment guarantors come into play for those with non-extensive (or non-existing) financials. A guarantor might be required by the apartment community if the tenant doesn’t qualify for the apartment on their own. If the tenant cannot pay, then the guarantor will.

Having a guarantor or co-signer allows you (the tenant) to rent the apartment you want. Below are some reasons why a landlord or property manager might mandate a co-signer to be on the lease agreement:

  • Applicant has little to no credit history
  • Applicant has a short employment history
  • Applicant has a lack of rental history
  • Applicant doesn’t make 3X the rent

When reviewing potential tenants, property managers reference credit, employment, and past rental history. They also look at how much an applicant makes to verify that this person can afford the apartment. Signing a lease with a guarantor will help property managers look past the gray areas and feel good about their decision to rent out the apartment.

A Guarantor’s Role in the Lease

Parents, or another trusted family member or friend, are common people to reach out to for a guarantor. A landlord or property manager will require some information from the guarantor, including a good to excellent credit score, financial documents, and proof of income.

Just like a tenant, landlords and property managers need financial documentation from the guarantor of your apartment. Documents like tax forms and pay stubs will need to be produced. This will show the property manager that the rent can be paid if the lessee (tenant) defaults. Guarantors are typically required to have a salary that’s 80X greater than one month’s rent.

Say you’re looking at an apartment that costs $650 per month. Your apartment guarantor must make at minimum $52,000 per year to qualify as a guarantor or co-signer. FICO credit score, background check, and financial documents will be reviewed by the landlord or property manager – for both you and your guarantor.

Apartment Guarantor Services

An alternative solution to asking someone to be the co-signer of your apartment is to reach out to an apartment guarantor service – yes, it’s a real thing. These companies work on your behalf as your guarantor for a monthly fee. Businesses in this field include The Guarantors and HelloRented.

They do require a fee, but it might be worth looking into if you don’t know of anyone to ask. Each apartment guarantor service has different policies. Research their provided services, fees, and approval window timeframes to make the best choice for your budget.

If You’d Rather Not Do Either…

Talk with your property manager about offering a little more down for the security deposit. Offering this can help take away the property manager’s hesitations of renting to someone with a minimal financial history or rental past.

Subletting an apartment can work in this situation, too. Look for someone who’s subletting their apartment if you need to move in quickly. Your name isn’t on the lease agreement, and you likely won’t go through the same application process as the tenant’s whose name is on the lease.

Help Out Your Apartment Guarantor by Paying Rent on Time

Some risk is involved by being a guarantor for an apartment. As the tenant, it’s important to remember to pay your rent on time! When someone co-signs for an apartment, that person is legally obligated to pay the rent if the tenant doesn’t.

Whether it’s unintentional or not, your guarantor will have to pay the rent. Parents and loved ones will be upset if forgetfulness is a reoccurring issue – and you don’t want to make anyone mad. If you go with an apartment guarantor service and don’t pay, you could incur some additional fees on top of the apartment late fees…ouch. Be considerate to your apartment guarantor by paying rent on time!

You’ll love apartment living, from the cool amenities at your community to the freedom and independence of living on your own. Qualifying for an apartment with little financial history doesn’t have to be an issue thanks to apartment guarantors. Ask someone you trust to be your co-signer but don’t get upset if they say no. Remember, it may be a lot of money and responsibility for them. But it doesn’t hurt to ask, right? Try writing them a nice and personal letter.