From the Forum – Guarantor on my lease? ______ please.

Guarantor on my lease? ______ please.

So, here’s the situation: I recently switched from a very underpaid post grad-school fellowship, where I was for the last 9 months, to a full-time job with a good salary. I have been living in a very small room in a group house, but am am now currently shopping around for new digs. I recently found a great 2-bedroom house which I would share with a roommate. Everything has been going smoothly in the application process until I got a message from the landlord asking if I would be able to have a guarantor. I find this kind of insulting since I’m now 29 and have 2 degrees and a good job, and I haven’t had to sign a lease with a guarantor since maybe college… if at all. THere was no application fee, so I’m assuming the landlord hasn’t pulled my credit report, which is excellent for someone my age.

So, this brings me to 2 questions: 1) Is this a red flag for about dealing with my soon-to-be landlord or more than they should be able to ask for? 2) Is there any other kind of financial assurance I can offer them; e.g., guaranteeing with property or something?

You can see all forum topics and your own here.

17 Comment

  • lovefifteen

    Umm, what is up with the “_____ please” part? Not a lot of good words that fit in that blank. Tacky.

  • The same thing happened to me and my two roommates this year…we are late 20’s, have good jobs, and have been financially independent for years. We pretty much said that to the landlord when he asked for us to have a guarantor sign and after pulling our credit he backed off the request.

    • gotryit

      The same happened to me and my wife, both in our late 20s. We explained that we were financially independent and more than capable of paying the rent. The landlord backed off the request.
      If they don’t back off, you may just want to walk away – I can’t imagine asking my parents to guarantee the lease. Hah!

  • It seems odd for the landlord to request that you have a guarantor (unless the rent is above a certain threshold percentage of your salary — I can’t remember what percentage that’s supposed to be).

  • Seems to me that a guarantor should be required only if you *can’t* demonstrate current employment and a good credit history. A printout of my free credit report and some recent pay stubs are all I’ve needed in the past.

  • rule of thumb that i’ve always been told is that you need 6 months of rent in cash in your savings/checking account as well as make 40x the monthly rent (before taxes). if you don’t have both of those, i think it’s pretty common to be asked for a guarantor… i wouldn’t be insulted it’s just the way things are.

  • I wouldn’t comply after that point… The landlord can file a claim against your listed guarantor for any reason, including if you have a rent-related dispute later on.

    If you have references for places that you’ve rented before, those should be submitted for your application and enough for approval. You can show paycheck stubs and a bank account statement also to help. if that landlord wants more than that, they’re likely a law suit landlord looking for guaranteed cash which will pretty much be guaranteed to end up in court sooner or later. There are no guarantees that you or I will have a job tomorrow, so this is the risk of business for both you and a rentor.

    If the potential landlord can’t run a credit report, that’s their fault, and there is less guarantee of a tenant’s timeliness in payments, but adding another responsible party to your debt commitment can only cause problems with you and your guarantor if a dispute (which often does happen in renting) arises.

    • Most likely it’s a very paranoid owner-occupier who typically doesn’t rent out their place. Those types can be big micro-managers and totally pain-in-the-rears because their home is their “baby”.

      OP, if you take this place, make sure you take pictures of EVERYTHING, especially any preexisting damage, scuffs on the walls, holes, etc. This person is probably very nit-picky and will go over the place with a fine tooth comb when you leave.

  • From the description provided here, it doesn’t seem all that crazy to me that the LL would ask. At the outset, I’ll say I don’t think the request is a red flag and actually may be a good sign that he otherwise likes you as a tenant and wants to rent to you over other applicants. But be more objective. Your income until very recently probably has been insufficient to pay the rent on this place, and it sounds like you were in grad school before that and not pulling much, if any, salary then. So while your credit may be good, your earning history is not, and the fact that you haven’t been in your present job that long is probably not that comforting to the landlord who, if he’s smart, should be worried about the stability of your current employment situation and good paycheck. Moreover, if you’ve been in a small room in a group house, the rent you pay there probably will increase 2-4x with this place. In other words, you don’t have a recent history of being able to make rental payments of this size reliably. I don’t think your age or education has anything to do with it, really, when you look objectively at things that interest landlords: specifically, whether your work and rental history establish that you likely will be a reliable tenant in terms of making the rent every month.

    On the other side of things, I’m assuming you’re dealing with a small-time landlord here, since it’s a 2 BR house and not a bigger building, so you’ve got to figure that he will tend to be risk averse. He’s got this one huge asset (and debt, too, in all likelihood) and one chance to get it right for the next year and beyond with selection of tenants. If some applicant turns out to be a deadbeat, he’s stuck with a significant and potentially expensive problem. He likes you but has some understandable concerns about all the stuff above — rental and income history. How can he get some comfort in that situation? A guarantor is one way.

    But you could suggest other things, too. If you have it now, how about you offer to pay twice the deposit, and write into the lease that he’ll refund 50% of the extra deposit after 4 months of rent paid in full on time and the other 50% after 6-8 months full and on time? If I’m your landlord, the minute I have a lease with you, the only rental history I care about from that point forward is the one you have with me.

    • This. Especially because it sounds like the poster was going to be signing the lease, and then looking for a roommate. If you were making $30,000 for the past year and are trying to sign a lease on a place for $2,000/mo by yourself, it’s prudent for them to ask for a guarantor. Also, even if you’re making let’s say $50,000 now, you’d be taking home about $3,500/month, which for a $2,000/mo rent is considered a very high housing cost burden.

      Also, they don’t need to collect money to run a credit report–some landlords see running the credit cards of people they’re planning to sign a lease with.

  • Offer your credit report to him instead of a guarantor. If he declines then run.

  • Your landlord may just be used to young tenants and/or students. I”m a landlord and have often had tenants renting their very first place and probably half my tenants have been students….therefore my application form asks for parents’ info, although I agree that’s not needed for someone that is not longer a student and working. I just don’t make a custom form every time I have a new tenant. In this situation I would just offer something instead, like a reference from your job.

  • This seems strange to me, though not necessarily a red flag. As a landlord, the only time I’d ask for a guarantor is if rent would be more than 30% of your income. I did call my tenant’s employer and verify employment and salary. I also ran a criminal background and credit check. If you didn’t give the landlord your SSN, then he/she couldn’t possibly have done this. I would guess they don’t know much about being a landlord if they haven’t taken any of these steps with a prospective applicant. I will also say that as a landlord in DC you’re pretty much SOL if the tenant decides they don’t want to/can’t pay or if they want to screw you over for some reason. I totally understand why a lot of landlords are paranoid.

  • I’m not sure that I would go for it in your situation, but I at least think I know what’s going on. My leasing company requires a guarantor if you have been a full-time student anytime within the past 12 months. Based on your description, I’d bet the landlord is basically seeing you as one of these people (and/or, as mentioned by another commenter, that you were ridiculously poor until just a few weeks ago).

Comments are closed.