Students in Durham are being forced to pay large sums upfront if they cannot name a guarantor currently living in the UK. Last night, the DSU voted unanimously to lobby landlords to accept international guarantors, after a motion was proposed by Matteo Lai.
Lai explained that students in Durham looking to sign a tenancy agreement are asked to name a resident of the UK who can “guarantee” they will meet rent payments – for UK residents, this is typically a financially stable family member. Those who are unable to provide a UK guarantor are asked by most agencies to either use a guarantor agency or pay up to half the value of the entire year’s rent before their tenancy begins. According to this motion, guarantor agencies can cost approximately £200. The University also provides a guarantor scheme, but this has only got 50 places, and still costs £50.
There are some exceptions who do accept international guarantors, with Lai highlighting Robinson’s and Harrington’s as examples of agencies that are less discriminating towards international students.
It is is hoped that with this mandate, the SU will now begin lobbying other agencies to also follow this practice. The assembly resolved to lobby for the University’s guarantor scheme to be expanded and made freely available, which will also benefit estranged students.
Photograph: Anna Marshall