Confused about affordability checks for joint tenancy

I’ve just been looking at how referencing works on OpenRent for tenants and guarantors but I’m a bit confused about affordability checks for joint tenants. I don’t think I’ve ever really been checked for affordability before for a tenancy, except in an informal way when I showed my landlord my bank statements, so I’m not sure how they work.

Does each tenant need to be able to afford the entire rent on their own to pass an affordability check? And if one tenant has a guarantor, does that guarantor need to earn 4 x the whole rent? I would be sharing with my brother and we each could easily afford half the rent each on the places that we’re looking at, but all of it wouldn’t really be possible for either of us - and finding a guarantor with income high enough would be tough too.

I understand that joint tenants are jointly liable for rent etc, but presumably they don’t all need to be able to afford the entire rent on their own? That would rather defeat the point of sharing. Does the affordability check only apply to each person’s “share” of the rent? Or is everyone on the tenancy checked for affordability at the same time (i.e. their incomes are both taken into account)? Jointly, rent on many of the places we’re looking at would be under 25% of our joint gross income, making them more than affordable, but individually would be a different story.

Help me please, I don’t understand!


I am a landlord I would do a reference check on all parties. Then decide when I see the results ITs up to the landlord