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Joint & several liability on rental accommodation(9 Posts)
DS2 is due to return for his second year and had previously found accommodation prior to lockdown with 6 other students.
The contract is due to run from 1st July but without knowing any of the other's situations, DH & I are unhappy to act as guarantors on a joint and several liability basis, given the current and on-going situation.
The annual rent for all of them could come to £40k (not to mention any damage they could cause) and no idea how many of them will be able to return to their courses. With this number in the house we feel that there is too much risk of something going wrong.
Trying to get information out of him is like the proverbial blood and stone; he thinks we're being unreasonable, we can't seem to make him understand just how much we are risking financially. The landlord could easily just target us for any losses without knowing the backgrounds of his prospective housemates.
Are we being unreasonable in trying to see if they can get individual contracts?
I don't think you are unreasonable but I also think that this clause is in a lot of student accommodation. I would ask, though. Have you checked with the University's Accommodation Office (if they have one) for advice, I know that it's not University accommodation but they may be able to give more general advice on housing. Hope you can sort it out OP.
Not unreasonable at all! I wouldn’t be acting as guarantor for 5 other people. Definitely challenge it.
I think some contracts can be worded so that your liability is limited to your own child but having read about it on here, my concern over this potential liability is partly why my DC tried private halls for 2nd Year (bad mistake much smaller studio than expected)...for coming 3rd year DC has rented a 2 bed flat alone initially. Not cheap but keeps the liability at a manageable level. With Covid issues it is a real risk for the parental guarantor as they will pursue the wealthiest person. I would not want to guarantee rent for 6 other tenants...who would?
You should definitely 'take over' and insist for limited liability.
If you have already signed up I would guess that a landlord would not release you from the guarantee because why would they?
If you haven't then don't sign up.
We were in the same situation with Ds1 where we could have been in for £30k so would not sign. His friend's parents didn't even know what joint and several meant. They found a property that did not need a guarantor.
Also beware if they word it to say limited to your child's liability. If the child is subject to joint and several liability which they will be then so are you. It needs to state a specific amount of rent and limit to damage caused by your child.
I have refused to sign guarantees and instead offered to pay the year's rent for the one child in advance. So they had their father guarantee last year and this. He got the better deal as I paid their rents and he paid nothing.
i agree it is a big issue and that my children always say I am the only parent fussing like this and all the other parents are well off anyway so there is no way the guarantee would be called in but you never know. My son's house's rent this year is £38k (Bristol).
I had a client who took my advice and offered to pay the 12 months in advance for his son and that worked as a compromise - he was also unhappy about the legal risks.
I agree with Season's comment above too.
Or just offer to guarantee only his rent - but the estate agent will be young and not understand the contract and a different department will handle it (in some cases) so it is not always easy to get things changed from a standard format and with these popular student houses which go by December of the year before it is often take it or leave it.
The landlord will unlikely be prepared to do individual tenancy agreements as they want the joint liability for damage to the property as well as the rent. Occasionally you can find rentals done by room rather than the whole house but the students then have no control over who else is moved into the property if there’s a room going spare. For all the student rents my DC has done we have added a liability clause into the guarantee to limit it to unpaid rent only and specified the maximum amount we would be liable for. All landlords so far have been happy with this but maybe it’s because all the other parents just signed anyway (maybe not understanding the legal implications of what the guarantee actually covered as per the earlier comments) and they have the deposit to cover any damage.
One tip for moving in day - take photos, check everything works or for any damage and email the landlord. You then have evidence for when you move out.