Today is the day. They’ve spent all morning rehearsing their speeches, mulling over the countless, inevitable questions. Have they missed anything? They know their efforts are futile, but they have to try. They pause. A sense of overwhelming disappointment consumes them. Today is the day they are going to beg their parents to be their guarantors…again. Silently, they pick up the rental agreement forms and reluctantly close the door.
Too often, students are faced with the degrading task of begging uncooperative family members to be their guarantors. In a world twisted by money, landlords are excruciatingly persistent when it comes to legal accountability. For some college students, this is an impossible challenge to overcome.
Faced with nonexistent credit, low income and often no financial aid, finding a guarantor can be overwhelming. Pressured by rapidly filling apartments, many students struggle to satisfy ridiculous guarantor requirements set by faceless administrators—no matter the cost.
Guarantors are responsible, under legal contract, for a resident’s debt if he or she fails to pay rent. Generally, guarantors must have good credit and make considerable annual income. Some complexes require potential residents to have an income equivalent to three times the rent or larger to self-qualify as guarantors, while third-party guarantors must satisfy an outstanding five times the rent in income.
“You’re not liable for three times the rent,” said Casey Porter, University Heights resident. “You’re only liable for one month’s rent. So why should you have to qualify for three times? Or even be required to have a guarantor at all?”
Apartment administrators demand personal information such as social security numbers and financial records. Because of this, family members can be suspicious when first approached by their darling daughter or strapping son. Let’s face it, not everyone likes the deep, dark secrets of his or her financial standings and credit scores examined.
Students are degraded by the task of acquiring a guarantor. Whether it is asking a parent, coworker, or friend of the family, soliciting financial support to secure a place to live is downright embarrassing. Yet many family members are insensitive to the vulnerability of students. It is not uncommon for them to reject their inherent roles as guarantors.
Family members can reject being a guarantor simply on the grounds of lifestyle differences. Perhaps the student is a member of the LGBTQIA community and wishes to room with his or her significant other. If the student has conservative parents, this would be a prime opportunity for them to exert an unjust amount of power. Because of this, many students sacrifice their own desires for their parents’ wishes. It then becomes a transactional battle over individuality and less of a relationship. The sad truth of the situation is some students would rather be miserable than homeless.
While some complexes are not as concerned with guarantors, others go so far as to demand the guarantor live in the same region as the resident, according to The New York Times.
“Students in good academic standing who can show proof of employment should not be required to have a guarantor on an apartment lease,” said Stephanie Williams, electronic media junior.
Although many people deem it a necessary evil, I view the guarantor system as excessive and detrimental. If students are not paying their rent, kick them out. There is another student right around the corner, eager to take the vacant room. Keep business out of family.
Follow Haley on Twitter at @awkward_adverbs.