Guarantor Scheme Launch 22 Nov @ Housing Fair

After my first year of University, I was lucky enough to find accommodation through a friend. I moved in with her without any problems. Our landlady, a very friendly Somali, trusted me as a tenant without asking for a deposit or any kind of guarantor. Life seemed simple. Finding accommodation seemed simple. And yet, so many of my friends were struggling because they needed a UK guarantor, otherwise, they had to pay the full fee upfront.

It was absolutely ridiculous. All my non-EU International friends have already been scrutinised and had to prove they had enough money to cover all costs in order to be granted entry in the country in the first place. Why another check? Why so much distrust? All my EU International friends were either monthly supported by their parents so could not simply pay upfront or were working part-time to support themselves, so much alike our UK peers. Why treat us like that?

It’s hard to convince accommodation agencies or private landlords to not legally ask for a guarantee, it’s hard to ask them to trust you when, apparently, UK students whose parents do not want to vouch for me, struggle with the exact same issue. Hence, the easiest approach to finding a solution was a Guarantor Scheme supported by the University, where the University vouches for you. So, in June myself and Anna Mullaney started meeting with different people from ACS, SAC and Finance Department of University to discuss this.

After several meetings and exploring options, we have reached a positive conclusion: the University will trial in 2017–18 a Guarantor Scheme for International students. Disadvantages include: 1st years not being able to use the programme because they are more likely to default or to go into University accommodation, trial has around 50 places open. However, 1st years who still need a guarantor shall be signposted to Housing hand (an insurance company that does the exact same thing on the market, but will not be free), home students can contact Finance if they struggle as well, places are subject to a certain degree of flexibility depending on demand, programme will be reviewed for 2018–19 depending on this year’s findings and, finally, it is FREE.

I look at the outcome and I imagine in what ways this can be improved for the better, but, I guess, after 5 months in office, this seems a pretty decent outcome. More work to be handed over.

The scheme will be launched tomorrow at the Housing Fair. Please come to our stall to ask questions and find out more.