Affordability/Guarantor - referencing

Good afternoon,

I’m embarking on getting my first tenant, I’ve started to reference someone and it looks like they’ve failed the affordability checks (By £135).

They have offered to pay 6 months in advance or use a guarantor. I queried with the referencing company (used open rent for these checks) how much the guarantor would need to earn so I don’t waste money referencing someone who is wasn’t going to pass.

They’ve said that they would only need to cover the short full and earn circa £6k PA

I suppose my question is does this sound correct? It was my understanding that a guarantor would be legally responsible for the full amount.

gurrantor needs to cover more than the" short full". Why dont YOU ask for their proof of earnings ?

Hi Colin,

Thanks for your reply, that’s my thoughts exactly but this being my first attempt at being a landlord I just wanted to clarify.

That will be the next step, I just wanted to know from the referencing side of things how much the guarantor would need to be earning to pass the affordability checks.

Everywhere I looked online suggest with my proposed tenants salary they should be able to afford it so was a bit of a shock for them to fail on this part.

dont forget the guarrantor has their own bills to pay Mortgage , taxes kids cars etc . I would never be a guarrantor for anyone


Have to agree with Colin. Really, you need to work out what the guarantors disposable income is. They are liable for 100% of all costs and rents if your tenant doesn’t pay. I’ve only taken a guarantor once and that was after completely scrutinising their finances. I made it clear what their financial obligations were should the tenant fail to pay and so they fully understood that I wanted to make sure that if they had to pay, I didn’t want them to be in financial hardship too. In my view, OpenRent’s referencing for this is weak and only works for salaried people.

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I ask the guarrantor to sign a contract that they totally understand the implications of paying if the tenant defaults

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If they cannot afford it do not rent to them as your problems will grow if they cannot pay when they are in.

Guarantors may be able to afford to cover the rent on their salary but not (as Colin has said) when they have to pay their own expenses.

You need to wise up on questions to ask re income vv exps, benefits, partner contributions and remember if a couple both need to be vetted and sign the AST


Never mind if they pay 6 months up front. What about after that? The next 6 months? Is the gurrantor related or a friend.? Friends can be lost. If the rent is 10k a year then the renter needs to earn 35k thus a guarrantor with their own expenses may need to earn 70k . Get my drift ?

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When guarantors are asked to step in they don’t want to pay a landlord, as like many people, they don’t think a landlord deserves to be paid for their services.
A friend went through hell trying to get a guarantor to pay for his daughter who defaulted. Although probably would have been happy to pay for other things for his daughter. Every excuse under the sun, many court cases but he was ordered to in the end.

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My own policy is if they fail the referencing its automatic rejection. Seems harsh but I would rather wait and reference several times to end up with the best tenant.


If things are that tight what happens when their car breaks down or the latest must-have iPhone is released? It may not be long before your rent Is affected.

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I agree with Colin. Ask for bank statements for the last 3 months. That way you can see for yourself where tgere money goes. … esoecially look for credit card payments. If they object feeling it’s an infringement of their privacy explain that they have failed the affordability check, but not by much and you would like to look at it in an individual basis. You are trusting them with a whole house/flat… they should be able to trust you with full knowledge of their financial position. Explain that too. Open and honest communication is always a good thing. The 6 month thing is hugely stressful as you come to the end if the 6 months. And the cons of the guarantor thing have been explained correctly above. If they won’t let you see their bank accounts then reject them. Trust is a two way thing. Waiting for the right tenant is always the safest bet. Good luck.


As I was unable to get my tenant or her guarantor through referencing at the beginning of lockdown I took 3 months upfront, rolling. So that at any point she was always in credit. She gave me 3 months notice so now she is paying nothing as she has already paid till her leaving date.
The advice you have had regarding the guarantor is wrong - they need to be earning MORE than the tenant - and ideally be householders.

Its not possible to get rent guarantee insurance at the moment and evictions will take forever so I would be uber cautious at this time. Ironically, someone with disability allowance or benefits that are guaranteed and that will cover the rent is a better bet than anyone employed at the moment unless they are a “key worker”.

hi i had this issue and obtained a guarantor who could afford the whole rent. i was so glad i did since my tenant got furloughed and asked to reduce to half rent. be very careful. i rely on the rent as part of my pension. we tent to get forgotten about by government who think we are all loaded. My new tenant has paid the full 12 months up front. In future i will turn down anyone who fails the test. In the current climate we could end up losing out


I have also got a tenant on a rolling rent with 2 months upfront like Fraser (+ 5 weeks’ deposit with DPS). We agreed 2 months rather than 3 as that is the contracted notice period. The tenant’s employment situation is slightly odd in that he is a contractor with a fixed monthly salary and the employer has stated that they intend to keep him on. On salary alone he passes affordability. We tried to get his father as a guarantor (own home outright, several rental properties and two businesses) but he failed Openrent’s referencing (go figure). Hence why rolling 2 month rent.


I had tenant I was asked to reduce the rent because saying one got furloughed and other had to take reduce pay. I said I cannot reduce but suggested to defer the rent payment scheme. Then I had replied that they did not want defer and pay a full amount.
At the end of tenancy they decide to end tenancy but then moved to another flat nearby with higher rent and a few wks earlier because they wanted to go on holiday so paying rent for over 2 wks for 2flats Also they had to buy their some furniture paying hundreds of pounds.

That made me realise how people with have furloughed income and reduced income earning more than enough to pay rent and trying all their things not to pay the full rent.


Housing allowance only pays 3/4 the value of rent. It hasn’t been updated in years. Also a referencing company does not include housing allowance as part of income. The applicant has to allow 35% of income as rent which taken off someone with £800 per month coming in as a couple leaving £520 for food, bills etc. It also has a very low credit rating so will fail. Saying no DHSS is to avoid wasting applicants and landlords time. At the end of the day its the governments responsibility to build homes and house the homeless but as usual they prefer to pass the buck as does Shelter who wouldn’t dream of building houses for the homeless themselves. Too risky!


thats a really good point… Shelter build houses and rent them out… I tell you they would not dare do it. They would be owed a great deal of rent !!


I don’t understand why they would ask to halve the rent. They only lost 20% so that is the maximum as I see it. At least they got 80% the landlord gets nothing. I think the phrase having a laugh to put it more politely than my husband would.

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Hi There

Fully agree with you. His argument was he still had to pay the full price for council tax electricity food etc so the rent needed to go down by more than the 20% he was losing but it is always the landlord who loses. The government did absolutely nothing to help us. I think they think we are all millionaires. They did not consider that many of us just own a single property and need the rent to supplement our income. I am so please my new tenant has paid up front as I would have worried I would be put in the same position and able to do nothing about it.