SOAS University of London


Guarantors & references

Right to Rent Checks

Please make sure to read through our Right to Rent section that will detail the legal obligations placed upon Londlords to make checks on their tenants immigration status before granting a tenancy agreement.


It is common practice in London for private landlords and agents to ask for a guarantor based in the UK (usually a parent, friend or relative) who would pay your rent if, for any reason, you do not pay. If you are unable to provide a guarantor, they may ask for 3 to 6 months’ rent in advance. This can leave you in a vulnerable financial position, so where possible try to negotiate with the landlord.

If you have an individual contract with your landlord, then your guarantor will only be responsible for your share of the rent. However if a joint contract has been signed, your guarantor may be liable for unpaid bills and rent of other tenants.  You may be able to negotiate with your landlord, use a guarantor form which limits the liability to your proportion of the rent amount.

Check the guarantor agreement carefully and provide your guarantor with a copy of your tenancy. In many cases, a guarantee agreement may extend to other conditions including unpaid bills or damage to the property. Provide your guarantor with a copy of the tenancy agreement so they can be clear about what conditions their guarantee will cover. You can also contact the University of London Housing Services for advice on this.

SOAS Guarantor Scheme

The SOAS Guarantor Scheme is suspended for the 2022/23 academic year.  Should you require a Guarantor please consider Sanctuary or Intercollegiate housing from our accommodation portfolio as a Guarantor is not required for these particular halls of residence. If you wish to live in private rented accommodation and require a Guarantor there are several private companies who offer this service for a fee.

Should you require any advice or assistance please email


Some agents and landlord will ask for a reference from your previous rented property. If you lived in halls, a reference that states you have been a good tenant and paid your rent in full may be provided. If this is your first time living away from home, a character reference from a teacher, employer or someone who has known you for a long time may be accepted.


Housing in London is in short supply, and landlords and agents may try to pressure you into signing a contract quickly. However, if there is something about the property that you would like to have changed—for example you would like a desk in the bedroom, or a washing machine—you can negotiate the terms of your contract. Anything that the landlord agrees to should be put in writing before you sign the contract. This is called an 'addendum' to the contract.

Equally, if you think the rent is unreasonable, you can try making an offer of a lower amount. Again, be sure to get any agreement in writing before you pay a holding deposit. Always ensure you get a receipt for your holding deposit which details the agreed rent. 

Next Page - Moving In