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Guarantors for rental of student house.

(18 Posts)
Travelledtheworld Tue 29-Jan-19 20:52:45

DS looking for private rented house in his second year at Southampton. We have just been asked to act as Guarantors for his share of the rent. No problem with that, but the letting agency has also asked for details of employer and salary.

DD up in Manchester has lived in private rented for two years and we have never been asked for this information.

Anyone else got experience of this, and how did you handle it? Husband is very reluctant to disclose his (large) salary, and payroll people in his company certainly will not disclose it if some random estate agent phones up asking about it.

OP’s posts: |
runoutofnamechanges Tue 29-Jan-19 21:02:46

It is pretty standard but they should be using a regulated (by the Financial Ombudsman) referencing company who do credit checks/get references so everything is confidential. The letting agent shouldn't see that information. They will probably write to his employer.

Make sure you are only guarantor for his share of the rent, not joint and several liability where you are liable if any of the tenants don't pay the rent.

Needmoresleep Wed 30-Jan-19 09:38:36

The landlord will need to protect their income. Such referencing checks are normal. Some I’ve seen in the past, and less information is given out now, would ask whether someone could afford the rent, so no detail at all. Or gave salary in ranges, with the top one being broad, something like “above £50,000”.

As a landlord I would always expect “joint and several”, ie that the tenants as a group are responsible for getting the rent paid. If they don’t trust each other, why should I trust them. Note students don’t normally provide the hefty 4/6 week deposits that professional tenants are usually expected to provide. Alternatives to being a guarantor can be to offer to pay the rent in advance. That is what overseas students often do, or look at insurance schemes. Note also that when it is joint and several, anyone chasing money will probably focus on the most affluent guarantor. The simplest thing is for them all to pay their rent and not damage the property, and remember that CCJs can come back and bite you when you least expect it. However one (rich) friend decided that since she would be the first in the firing line, plus they were responsible kids, she would be sole guarantor for the lot, which given the group included overseas students, made it a lot simpler.

Sophiesdog11 Wed 30-Jan-19 12:48:43

Op, my DS has done 2 years at a Northern uni, and had started to sort 3rd yr accommodation last March, when he got a placement job for this year confirmed.

My DH put himself down as guarantor for 2nd yr (private house) and potential 3rd yr (private halls) - he is self employed and I think one asked for his accountants details, and one for bank statements (we covered up all transactions except his salary). Guessing they also did credit checks.

DS is on placement just outside Southampton and is renting a house nr the uni with 3 other placement students, so he could well be renting via the same agency as your DS.

I was guarantor and had to provide details of my employment - but it was via a specialist referencing agency. They sent me a link to fill in my details online, then emailed my HR dept with a number of questions for confirmation of my job and presumably salary. It isn't a random phone call. I am expecting that I will also be guarantor when he and his friends sort out his uni accommodation for next year, which should be any time soon.

Obviously different agencies/private halls do things differently, we have just accepted its something we need to do whilst he is in shared houses.

AutumnCrow Wed 30-Jan-19 12:52:46

I've been guarantor for both my student DC in different cities, and have never been asked for that kind of information (salary) - nor would I give it. ExH is currently guarantor for DC2, and he wouldn't either.

PilarTernera Wed 30-Jan-19 13:07:44

I was asked for salary and employer information as guarantor for dd's house for next year. Was not asked for the place she is in now. I gave them because I don't want to stand in the way of her getting the place she wants.

What is your dh worried might happen if he gives his details to the estate agent? Why does it make a difference that it's a high salary?

Travelledtheworld Wed 30-Jan-19 22:28:09

Thanks everyone very helpful advice.
I spoke to the estate agents and they will write to DH's employers requesting confirmation that he is employed there and confirming that his salary is over £20K per annum.

PilarTenera what's wrong with my husband wanting to keep his actual salary confidential? Financially he is very cautious !

OP’s posts: |
Asdf12345 Wed 30-Jan-19 22:34:23

Ttfo.

If anyone does the slightest damage to the house (your child or otherwise) they can go after whoever seems most likely to pay.

Offer to pay the rent for 6 months or the whole contract up front and the problem generally goes away, especially if housemates effectively provide blank cheques from their parents.

PilarTernera Thu 31-Jan-19 09:40:40

There is nothing wrong with your husband wanting to do that. I was wondering if maybe he had a particular worry about the estate agent misusing the information. From what you say, sounds like it's a general policy of his, nothing in particular about the estate agent.

In my case, nobody has contacted my employers. After 2+ months and the deposit paid, I doubt they ever will.

Needmoresleep Thu 31-Jan-19 10:25:40

Two tips:

1. Make sure whoever collects the keys is primed to go round and check the inventory. The inventory DD got was quite sloppy, probably because the agent was dealing with tenant changeover in a whole bunch of properties that week, so we made notes on everything, including opening windows, and testing alarms, heating, taps, washing machine and shower. We asked the landlord to deal with the urgent stuff and the rest was noted. It also effectivey serves notice to the landolord (if they were that way inclined) that we will pursue the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

2. DD suggested to the others that they had a list of parental contact details in case of emergencies. This obviously is a good idea, but also provides a way of contacting other guarantors should payment problems arise.

VanCleefArpels Thu 31-Jan-19 15:39:12

We didn’t want some spotty youth in a letting agency having on file copies of all sorts of financial information about us that could easily be misused so paid upfront to avoid this. DS first landlord only did basic credit check, without requiring further proof of ability to pay. It really depends on the landlord/agency

Travelledtheworld Thu 31-Jan-19 19:36:34

Needmoresleep good point on the inventory, thanks.

OP’s posts: |
Sophiesdog11 Thu 31-Jan-19 21:19:22

I would also say take photos of everything, when you move in and leave - anything dirty or a problem, let agent know on the move in date, as Needmoresleep said.

DS and friends have just got the final part of last years deposit back - the agent claimed (amongst other things) that they needed to pay for new mattresses due to the condition of the mattress bases at end of tenancy - of course we had photos of all mattress tops (showing significant wear) but not the bases!!

Anyway, DS and friends took it all the way through the deposit protection scheme, got 170 out of 200 each returned in the autumn, with remaining amount going to arbitration. He told me last night that they had just got the remainder back, the agents didn’t provide any evidence to arbitrators.

Apparently it took longer than expected as there was a backlog in arbitration. Hopefully because students and parents are now getting wise to the agents trying to retain deposits needlessly.

Weetabixandshreddies Thu 31-Jan-19 21:22:28

Yes. We were asked for 3 months payslips, bank statements plus a letter confirming employment. It's very intrusive.

Sophiesdog11 Thu 31-Jan-19 21:25:45

Needmoresleep - It also effectivey serves notice to the landolord (if they were that way inclined) that we will pursue the deposit

DS sent lots of photos and noted problems to the agent when they moved into house in July 2017 - it didn’t stop his agents trying to retain virtually the whole £200/person. They just picked up on other random items that they said were damaged at end of tenancy. (Aka mattress bases - they must know that most students don’t photograph those!!)

DS and friends knew that they didn’t damage any items, and pointed out that workmen had gone into house around the end of tenancy!

Needmoresleep Thu 31-Jan-19 21:35:02

Going to arbitration is a real pain. It is up to the landlord to prove the need for deductions. If tenants stick with it, they almost certainly will get most/all of their money back, though the process is ridiculously long. Which is why I suggest being organised from the start will suggest to the landlord that these are not tenants to try it on with.

I am surprised at the volume of financial information required. With the new data laws my assumption is that many people in the process would prefer not to hold personal data so will delegate to reference agencies who simply want reassurance that the rent is covered.

Xenia Fri 01-Feb-19 07:43:33

Some people pay the year's rent in advance to avoid the need for a guarantor of that child's rent. Do check also if it requires you to guarantee everyone else in the house's rent too as that is fairly common and one reason I won't guarantee it. Nor would I want to disclose my earnings either not that I have been asked. It is just confidential and given the number of security breaches out there the fewer people that have our confidential information the better. If you are in a standard job where everyone will know the salary - teacher 3 years after qualifiying or dcotro on NHS pay scale place XYZ then that is a different matter.

alreadytaken Mon 04-Feb-19 08:15:35

Landlords will often see people who offer to pay up front as being potential cannabis farmers.

Photograph everything then upload them to cloud storage so you have a date on them.

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