Student been left to sort other's rent arrears(25 Posts)
Hi my son and his friend have been paying their rent on time and looking after the house they share etc. However the third flat mate has dropped out and owes rent. The father and guarantor (a wealthy businessman)
refuses to pay the arrears and the agent now want to take the arrears out of their deposits.
We have sought legal advice and spoken to the property Ombudsman etc and are trying to sort this.
Has anyone been through this situation?
It is a super house in a residential area and the last thing the lads need is the upheaval of finding somewhere else as well as the financial worries this is creating for them.
They have advertised for another flatmate but heard nothing.
The agent should be able to submit a claim to the Deposit Protection service to get the arrears back,from the defaulting tenant not your sons, that's what it is for. The other tenants sbould not be responsible for the default, the guarantor should step up and stick to the contract & if not be sued by the agent.
All takes time but put the onus back to the agent that's what they are paid for by the owners!
Did your son get information when he signed the contract about the Deposit Protection service and a number for his deposit? It is illegal to take delosits and not put them safely away , but some cowboy agents still use them for their cash flow.
I was a student a few years ago so it might be different / remembering things wrong but I’d have a look at the tenancy agreement. I believe there are 2 ways to go about renting. 1) each student is responsible for their own room and own rent and will have signed a contract to this effect (i.e DS will pay £100 a week for room 1 of property x) or 2) 3 students each sign for the whole property (DS, Flatmate 1 and Flatemate 2 will each pay as a whole £300 per week for the property).
If it’s 1) the flatmate will be held responsible but if it’s 2) then they have all signed to say they agree the rent will be paid and joint responsibility so if there is any default they will all be held accountable.
However I do think either way the agent should be holding the guarantor responsible for the debt.
What’s the point of a guarantor if the agent refuses to act on the guarantee. Can you get a solicitor to write a letter to the agent reminding of this.
Thank you for your supportive messages. I believe all you say to be true but am sick inside with worry about this. I will look into the cost of a solicitor's letter to the agent.
Betty have you tried speaking to the manager of the agency?
In a Uni area agencies are usually keen to keep a good reputation or they can get blacklisted by the housing dept who always advise students to check with them first to avoid some cowboys.
Might be worth a call to them, they may have an independant legal bod local to the flat they can signpost you to.
Do check the status of the deposit as you have a right of appeal if you think it unfair.
Sounds to me like they are going the lazy route rather then persue suing the guarantor. Like father like son clearly.
I'm fairly sure (but am not a lawyer) that the ll isn't allowed to keep the deposit to cover unpaid rent, unless with the agreement of the tenant. The guarantor is responsible, or what's the point in having one?
OP, are you guarantor for your dc's rent? That would help clear up whether it's a joint and several contract (so the remaining two are responsible for the whole rent) or if each tenant has their own contract.
I have heard of one guarantor being required when it's a joint and several, which means one
mug responsible parent can get landed with someone else's rent...
It is a joint tenancy. The agent has said they will take their deposits to cover arrears. Yes this is the lazy route. I was thinking of emailing the father in question to ask if he would clear his son's debts and the remaining two lads could move into a two bed (even though they are the innocent party). His own son's deposit will be taken too.
What a mess.
Thanks for caring.
They are not allowed to take the deposits without your consent - you can appeal direct tomthe DPS, has your son got a number? Should have been issued with the contract. If they haven't registered it with the DPS ask why ( all innocent like) it shut up my daughters shyster agent when in a similar situation. I threatened to report them.
Was it a joint and several tenancy agreement? Unfortunately, that will mean that they have all agreed to be liable for the whole rental amount. Having a guarantor just means that if nobody pays, the guarantor can be pursued on anyone's behalf, but the landlord can pursue each and any of them for the entire bill if they default if it's joint and several.
Yes it is with a deposit scheme but agents say unpaid rent comes out of deposits. I am unsure if this is written in tenancy agreement.
The lad who has dropped out will lose his deposit too...
Agents have been polite to our lads but obviously the rent arrears are going to escalate so something has to be done.
Call shelter they can give you free advice!
Are the lads still living there? Can they advertise the spare room to get someone else to move in that at least stops the unpaid rent building up?
Thanks everyone for all your advice...much appreciated. We have followed much of it and the room has been advertised but no one has come forward. It's a great house too in a quiet area etc.
I will let you know the outcome.
Don’t start contacting the boy’s dad. The agent should be doing that. That’s their job! Of course they should not be taking the deposits of the other two, that’s outrageous.
If the third boy decided to move out of his own free will then he either finds a replacement or he pays the rent until he finds one. It should not be the responsibility of the remaining tenants to chase about and it should definitely not be their responsibility to pay for him. Ffs!!
I’d say the only situation where the other two should pay anything is if they forcibly removed him, threw his clothes out the window and torched his car.
My DD has had several joint tenancies and in all of them we have acted as guarantor. We had to sign that we were jointly responsible for rent arrears with the other guarantors.
However if the deposit is in a DPS it belongs to the tenants. If the landlord wants to make a claim on it he has to apply to do so and provide evidence that he is entitled to the money.
Get them to speak to the university accommodation department - there will be someone who deals with private rentals. They may also know of students looking for a room. Although whether anyone will want to rent the room while there’s a dispute with the landlord is another matter.
OP l am a LL.
First of all get hold of the tenancy agreement, your son should have a copy, read it carefully, if it states they are all individually and severally responsible, there's your answer. Your son and friend are going to be held responsible ( a court will uphold this) and you will have to fight to get the money back from the absent boys guarantor.
It all hinges on the tenancy agreements terms and conditions, if the above clause is absent get a property solicitor to clarify what it does say, its worh the cost of a 30 minute appointment.
Don't bother with the agent they are not lawyers and have their own agenda. Find out the facts of what your son signed fast.
I let a 3 bed flat to 3 sharers, all young professionals, and they are all liable for the rent equally as they took on the tenancy as a group.
l expain this to them when they sign. but some properties are let on a room by room basis especially student properties, where they are only liable for the rent on their room.
This is why it is so important to understant what you are signing. Good luck hope thats helpful.
Tell your son to go and see student services at his Uni. Someone there will assist him with this, and liaise with agent etc.
My daughter has had joint & several contracts & it makes me very nervous. They had someone move out this year but fortunately he is still paying the rent. The trouble is, when they are looking for accommodation there is little choice about what they sign in the contract
The trouble is, when they are looking for accommodation there is little choice about what they sign in the contract
First came across this when my eldest went off to university. Read the tenancy agreement again and again as it seemed a bit mad - why should I as guarantor be liable for other tenants. Finally ran it by a lawyer friend who confirmed my worries - also gave me the scenario of, for example, one of the tenants being a chemistry student & accidentally blowing up the house - LL could choose to pursue any one guarantor for the costs.
I refused to sign & my offspring found a private house share.
It is all a bit bonkers, and the last thing parents need when there’s so much to think about - which is probably why they just sign & hope for the best. The universities should be tackling this issue.
(The original house was fully rented out for the year. However they did default on electricity bills, and last I heard just one guarantor was being pursued for close to £1000.)
Did you get it sorted@Betty 1000. My student daughter has a house on hold at the moment and it's Joint and Several. This scares the life out of me.
It is still being sorted. The Ombudsman is looking into it. Meanwhile my son and the other lad sharing have moved to a smaller two bed. It's not easy for kids today. All you can do is support them but the sleepless nights I've had. I'm sure lots of houseshares work well.
When I was at uni my parents refused to be a guarantor but very kindly paid the entire contracts rent up front each year. Much less stressful for all involved. Letting agents would get arsey but when facing losing a house of five tennents over it they would run it by the landlords. Given they would still have four tennents with guarantors to chase they always seemed happy.
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