You can opt for a guarantor loan if you’re struggling to find traditional lenders that are willing to consider you for a loan.
A guarantor is a person who will step in and make the payment for you in case you happen to miss a month’s payment towards your debt.
Today, I’ll be discussing what the requirements and eligibility criteria are for someone to become a guarantor.
Who can Become a Guarantor?
In the UK, a guarantor can be any close friend or family member of yours.
The important thing to note is that you and your guarantor must both have separate streams of income.
Thus, your guarantor can definitely be your spouse or partner as long as both of you have separate sources of income and can manage your finances independently of each other.
Advice for Guarantors
If a close family member or friend of yours has asked you to become a guarantor for them, don’t just say yes.
It’s an important financial decision and you should take some time out to really consider whether it would be affordable to you or not.
Think about the person that is taking out the loan and whether or not you trust them to make their monthly payments on time or not.
Furthermore, you should be comfortable with making the payments for them in case they are unable to do so for one month (or even multiple months).
Never say yes to becoming a guarantor if you can’t make payments comfortably for the person taking out the loan in case something goes wrong.
Advice for Borrowers
It can be overwhelming trying to find a guarantor for your loan since it’s a big responsibility that you’re asking someone to take on.
When considering guarantors, it’s important to find a person who trusts you enough to not default on your loan repayments.
When you’re approaching a close friend or family member and asking them to become a guarantor for you, ensure that they fully understand what their obligations are going to be.
You should fully consider and ponder over what impact this agreement could have on your relationship with the guarantor.
Will your relationship with them suffer if they have to step in and make the repayments for you?
Make sure you take all of these aspects into account before approaching someone to become your guarantor.
What are the Requirements that Need to be Fulfilled for a Lender to Accept a Person as a Guarantor?
Certain requirements can vary depending on the lender but some basic requirements that almost all lenders have are the following:
- You must be a UK resident. Being a homeowner is not a requirement for most lenders. You can be a non-homeowner and still become a guarantor but being a UK resident is essential.
- You must be aged between 21 and 75 at the start of the loan. Some lenders can be lenient when it comes to this requirement and can accept individuals as young as 18 as guarantors, though, this is uncommon.
- The guarantor must not have a poor credit score. Having a good credit history will play a huge part in you getting accepted as a guarantor for a loan.
- You must have a bank account in the UK along with a debit card (Visa or Mastercard).
- You’ll have to give proof that you have an income of at least £400 per month. It doesn’t matter if you’re a traditional employee, self-employed or retired. You just have to prove the income.
- You must be financially independent of the person taking the loan. I’ve discussed this in detail later in this post.
Most lenders have their eligibility criteria publicly available in the UK. So it’s a good idea to go over these criteria and assess them both for yourself as well as your guarantor.
Firstly, you should look at the basic criteria that are meant for the borrower and then the criteria meant for the guarantor.
Once you find a lender that is suitable for your needs and has reasonable eligibility criteria, you can start the process of applying for their guarantor loan.
Keep in mind that you should not apply to many different lenders at once. It’s important that you assess many different lenders and compare them but in the end, you should only apply to a single lender.
This is because when you apply to a lender, they perform a credit check on you as well as your guarantor. In the UK, these credit checks are mentioned within your credit history.
Having too many of these credit checks in your credit history within a short span of time is a red flag for most lenders.
If a lender sees this in the borrower’s or the guarantor’s credit history, they will be apprehensive about approving the loan.
Thus, in order to maintain a good credit history and improve your chances of getting your guarantor loan approved, you should only apply to a single lender after making thorough comparisons within the market.
You should also ensure that the lender you’re applying to is registered in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Homeowner vs Non-Homeowner Guarantors
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a necessary requirement for the guarantor to be a homeowner.
While this used to be a requirement in the past, it’s not any more due to the increasing competition among lenders.
While it’s not important to be a homeowner to be accepted as a guarantor, whether you are one or not can have an impact on the terms that the borrower is offered.
If the guarantor is a homeowner, then the maximum loan amount that the borrower can opt for is usually higher and the interest rates that they’ll be offered are typically also lower.
If the guarantor is a non-homeowner, then the maximum loan amount that the borrower can opt for is lower (typically almost half of that if the guarantor was a homeowner) and the interest rates that they’ll be offered are usually also higher.
The potential guarantor needs to have a good credit history in order to be approved by the lender.
The responsibility of the guarantor is to step in and take charge of the payments in case the borrower fails to make them. Of course, in order for that to happen, the lender needs to be sure that the potential guarantor is capable enough to do this.
Having a poor credit score will suggest to the lender that the potential guarantor is not financially disciplined and as a result of this, they would most likely not approve the guarantor for the loan.
This is another aspect of the potential guarantor proving that they will be able to take charge of the payments in case something goes wrong and the borrower isn’t able to make them.
It’s a good idea to provide as much documentation about your income as possible to the lender so that your case is stronger.
The more proof and documentation you provide, the more comfortable the lender will be approving you as a guarantor.
You cannot become a guarantor if you have financial issues of your own.
I mentioned this earlier but in order to become a guarantor, you need to be financially independent of the borrower.
What this means is that you and the borrower must have completely separate sources of income as well as separate bank accounts.
The guarantor and the borrower must be able to make financial decisions of their own without consulting the other.
It’s entirely possible for the guarantor to be a partner or spouse of the borrower but it’s important for the borrower and guarantor to show that they will be able to afford the loan repayments independently of each other.
What’s a Guarantor for Rent?
Some landlords require you to name a guarantor when you’re looking to rent a place to live.
This guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you fail to pay it.
Landlords typically require the guarantor to be a resident of the UK.
If you fail to make your rent payment for a certain month, the landlord would ask your guarantor to make the payment instead.
If your guarantor fails to make the payment as well, then in the UK, your landlord has the right to take them to court.
To be a guarantor for renting, a guarantee agreement needs to be established in writing. The guarantor must agree to the terms that are established within the agreement.
While the guarantor is only liable for missed rent in most agreements, in the UK, it could extend to other costs as well such as any damage to property.
Finding a guarantor for your loan application in the UK can be difficult so it’s important that you take your time and consider all of your options thoroughly.
Make sure that you trust your potential guarantor completely before you ask them to enter into any sort of agreement with you.