UK guarantors for offshore properties

Ed Mead
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Q I’m based in Jersey and am buying a property under £2m in an offshore name. The landlord is asking for a UK based guarantor and wants bank references for them. Is this normal?

A Buying top end property in London means dealing with the big landed estates. They often have arcane rules meaning they’ll ask for a bank, professional and personal reference to check you’re someone able to pay your way in the upkeep of “their” building. While it may be offensive to some, it’s something that has worked for at least two generations. The problem with offshore companies is that they’re difficult to trace and landlords don’t like that when they have to chase the person up for arrears or if there’s some notice to serve. Their way round this is to insist on a UK based guarantor to take responsibility if communication stops. Some landlords will ask for a deposit equivalent to two years service charge and ground rent as an additional requirement, so try that first and see if they’ll drop the guarantor request. It seems to me that insisting on a UK guarantor would be a good way for the government to keep tabs on all offshore properties.