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Guarantor question.(19 Posts)
My ds is a student, about to rent a house with 4 friends. I have agreed to be his guarantor. The thing is, they are signing a joint tenancy, so if anyone pulls out, they have to fill the room or pay the extra rent.
The form I have been sent says
'All guarantors remain jointly and severally liable under the terms of the tenancy agreement irrespective of the rental share which is entered for referencing.'
What exactly does this mean. I would prefer to only be liable for ds's fifth, not potentially for anyone who drops out/defaults.
All the group have to supply a guarantor. I don't know any of these people and I am concerned that if they couldn't pay their dc's share for whatever reason, I would be persued for this. Or am I reading it totally incorrectly?
Any advice would be appreciated.
You are reading it correctly.
If anyone doesnt pay, it is likely that the group would try to insist that person or their own guarantor made up their shortfall, but these are students- dont expect them all to be assiduous in this informal arrangement. Yes you can be pursued for the whole amount, potentially just because it is convenient to pursue you rather than the other people. Landlords guard against groups of students- they don't know each other well and are often in their first ever house unsupervised- emotions and alcohol run high. they change allegiances, storm out, all decide to leave before the lease, sublet, multilet, underestimate costs, block toilets, break things and drop out relatively regularly compared to other groups. I have seen it where the offender's guarantor turns out to be illusory, equalky flaky or refuses to pay (often having been spun some yarn as to why the charges are unfair, by their darling child) - so landlords like to be able to have some recourse from the group's guarantors as a whole. Check whether the tenacy contracts themselves are also joint and severally liable and what the process is for replacing one tenant if they leave- and consider atrempting to amend the agreement to "jointly" liable only and naming who you are liable for- but you may not have much luck! Other possibility is to make a further agreement between the guarantors.
Thank you. What is the difference between jointly and severally liable? Does severally mean individually?
I know that the tenancy agreement is joint and that they, as a group, are obliged to make up the shortfall in rent if one (or more) drops out/defaults.
The thing is, I already think the landlord is dodgy - the house was advertised via an agency and was supposed to include some bills. The landlord, having got their agreement then decided to not include the bills.
I am unwilling to sign an agreement which makes me potentially liable for all 5 rents in a worst case scenario.
How could I best phrase the clause I want included in the contract. The agency already told ds that each guarantor would only be liable for their own dc, but that is not what this contract is saying.
I think the guarantors would all be legit - the contract comes from somewhere called the 'landlordhub' and they are asking for references from the guarantor to prove income.
This is very typical and I highly doubt the landlord will change it to you just guarantor your own kid
Then what do I do? He entered into an agreement eith the agency who told him I would only be liable for ds. Now this paperwork appears to state something else.
Then that's what you go back to the agency and say. Get the email addresses of the other guarantors from your child and suggest they all do the same. Good luck!
Will ring the agency tomorrow. I get that the landlord wants to reduce his risk but I'm taking the view that he doesn't get to pass it all onto me!
Thank you for the advice. Much appreciated.
Jointly and severally means that the landlord can pursue all guarantors or any one (or more, so in your case 2 or 3) guarantors for the whole amount of any unpaid rent. Not ideal for you if the other students and their parents turn out to be penniless!
Your son's liability will be for the whole, not just a fraction, as will all of the other tenants. That's why what the agency told you is correct.
I was asked to be a joint and several guarantor for my son's student house - it would have amounted to £28,000 in total had the others all left so I said no. The other parents had apparently just signed up without realising what it meant in reality. Anyway the upshot was they found another house that didn't require any guarantors!
I have spoken to the agency today and had them email me to confirm that if the worst happened, they would take all steps to persue the tenant's own guarantor before resorting to the other guarantors. I wanted to be assured that the agency would not simply go after whoever they considered it easiest to get the money from.
DS's group have been bloody slow and picky in looking for houses and have now left themselves in a position where their choices are limited. All the houses I looked at online were joint tenancy, so I fear they would all be the same.
So I think I have little choice. On the bright side, the guarantors are all having to prove that they earn enough to pay the rent. Given the shortage of housing I would hope that if anyone dropped out they would be able to fill the space.
We are just going through the same thing with our DDs. We have managed to persuade one landlord to accept to limit our liability to a 'fair share' of the costs, assuming all other tenants or their guarantors have paid their shares.
For the other DD, we are still having those discussions.
The issue is not just the rent, it's damage too. In our contract it stipulates that any damage caused by negligence we are liable for. So in the event of the house burning down due to a fire caused by say an iron or hair tongs being left on, we could be liable for a huge amount of money if the landlord was not properly insured.
We've asked for some changes, and if we can't get them will have to look at insurance options, but that does not seem to be a standard offering, which is surprising given how many of these contracts there are.
My ds hasn't signed the lease yet - we are just at the stage of agreeing to cover his liability. If the lease states that we are responsible for the sort of damage that the landlord should cover with buildings insurance, then I will make ds pull out. I know some landlords try to make tenants cover fixtures and fittings costs but to my mind this should be what the deposit is for. If ll wants a deposit I expect him to insure his own property.
I am not sure how far a ll would get, legally, if he tried to claim against tenants, when he hadn't insured the property adequately.
I am finding this all very stressful. I can almost feel the agents eyes rolling as I speak to her.
Yes I agree, finding it stressful too. Also yes I think many of these could be challenged in court if it came to it, but that's not cheap either. Problem is that there seems to be no alternative except to sign.
Blue I am somewhat comforted by knowing that my own house insurance offers some legal cover if someone tries to sue me. Maybe yours has the same.
I am not sure how far a ll would get, legally, if he tried to claim against tenants, when he hadn't insured the property adequately
If tenants cause damage, either deliberately or through negligence, they are liable. It doesn't matter whether or not the landlord is insured against the loss. If the landlord has insurance the insurers will pay for the damage but are then entitled to recover the money from the tenants. The landlord's insurance does not magically absolve tenants of liability. It simply guarantees that the landlord will get compensation even if the tenants are unable to pay.
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the tenant is responsible for making good any damage to the property caused by the behaviour or negligence of the tenant, members of his/her household or any other person lawfully visiting or living in the property. So I'm afraid the contract terms re damage to which posters object are simply stating the law.
Thanks for that. I believe them to be a nice, responsible bunch of kids but obviously I want to guard myself from massive bill if one of them leaves their hair straighteners on and accidentally burns the house down!
Does anyone know of an insurance which would protect me and ds if the worst should happen?
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