We often receive emails from readers asking for help in navigating their own real estate crises. In Realty Bites, we try to get them answers.
"I had a guarantor when I got my apartment, but have paid the rent on time by myself all this time. Will I still need a guarantor to renew my lease, and will they have to fill out all the same forms again?"
You might be able to talk your landlord into letting you fly solo based on your solid track record, but don't count on it. "It will really be case by case, depending on the landlord," says Citi Habitats agent Claire Marshall. "A good rule of thumb for any guarantor signing on to a lease is to expect that you'll be co-signing for however long the tenant stays in the apartment."
Many landlords and leases have a policy that the terms of your original lease (including the status of a guarantor) automatically renew when you sign on for another year, says Marshall, and their flexibility about changing terms will vary. (This will hold true whether you've signed on with an individual guarantor, like a parent, or for-hire institutional guarantor.)
"I've had clients where after a year they've gotten a raise and make slightly below the required 40 times the rent, and the landlord will still take into account their history and say 'Great, you qualify now," says Marshall. "Then others will make you go through the entire application and credit check process again if you want to rent without a guarantor, and others will keep a guarantor on even after a tenant starts making more than the required amount to qualify."
As with many things, Marshall notes, you're more likely to see flexibility from smaller landlords (for instance, if you're rent from a co-op or condo owner) than larger companies. "When you have a close enough relationship with, it’s more reasonable for an owner to really take into account the past year and what kind of tenant you’ve been," says Marshall, "Whereas if you’re looking at a larger company or corporation, they have set rules they have to abide by, and don't have as much discretion."