So your landlord is asking that you get a guarantor. Don’t take it as a ding on your status as an adult, it’s not a big deal and a very common practice in New York City. Here we break down what you need to know about working with a guarantor.
What a Guarantor Actually Does
If you can’t meet the financial requirements a landlord stipulates in a lease, you can work with a guarantor. Guarantors, essentially, are a third party who co-signs the lease with you and will be financially and legally obligated to pay your rent if you fail to do so. A guarantor can help you qualify for an apartment if your income isn’t 40 times the monthly rent, if you have bad credit, or if you have no rental history. Not all landlords allow guarantors, so make sure you ask about this before you visit the apartment. Often rental listings on Naked Apartment will indicate if a landlord accepts guarantors clearly in the property description.
How Much Guarantors Need to Earn
Typically, guarantors are required to make at least 80 to 100 times the monthly rent. If your rent is $2,000 per month, a guarantor needs to make $160,000 to $200,000 per year.
How to Ask a Friend or Family Member to Be Your Guarantor
If your guarantor needs to earn 80 times your monthly rent, that person has to substantial amount of money, which likely will limit your pool of candidates. Renters often look to older family members or friend to act as guarantors. While friends and family members are common choices, it doesn’t make it any easier to ask them to take on this responsibility. To help you out, we’ve written a sample guarantor letter with clear instructions that you can use. The more details you provide the potential guarantor, the easier the process might be.
Paperwork Your Guarantor Needs
A guarantor needs to provide the same documents as a renter: two pay stubs, two bank statements, one or two tax returns, and a letter from his or her employer. If the guarantor owns his or her own business, a certified public accountant (CPA) must provide a letter stating the guarantor’s income.
Who Gets This Sensitive Info?
No matter how close your relationship is, it is often uncomfortable to ask and view all your guarantor’s financial information. Instead of handing over all their personal records and bank statement to you, a guarantor can instead send the documents directly to the landlord.
Landlords prefer and sometimes require guarantors to live in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. (t’s cheaper to track down someone in the Tri-state area when collecting a missed rent payment! Some will work with out-of-state guarantors, but you’ll need to ask about this.
It would be nice if you could crowd source your guarantor’s financial responsibility so that several people were on the hook for small portions of that 80 to 100 times the monthly rent sum. Sadly that’s not an option, landlords want one person as a guarantor. From the perspective of a landlord, it is way too big a hassle to collect missed rent payments from more than one person. Collecting missed rent payments from one person is enough!
Alternatives to the Traditional Guarantor Option
If you need a guarantor but don’t have a rich uncle with a sack of gold, try Insurent, a guarantor service. Insurent requires an income of 27.5 times the monthly rent and a good credit history. To act as your guarantor, they’ll charge you 75 to 80 percent of one month’s rent upfront. The upfront cost will prevent many cash strapped renters from working with Insurent, but if you are able to gather the funds fo cover that cost, a third party guarantor can be a solid option.