/ Renting and guarantor agreements

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RX-78 on 04 Dec 2017
Given the age range here I guess a few will either be renting or have children renting. My son has asked us to be a guarantor for his tenancy next college year. It's a joint tenancy so the wording for the guarantor agreement also basically covers him and all the others. A quick Google suggests while common it can and should be challenged. Get changed to one limited to your child. Anyone any experience of this?
Jack B on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

Been living in SAT rentals for over a decade and now finally looking to buy soon. Yes, this is a bit unfair, and yes, it's very common. In my experience, it's tough to get an agent to vary at all from their standard, in-house way of doing things. If you want to do things differently, it's easier for them to just tell your son to naff off, and find another student to fill the gap. I've always lived in places where housing demand is high though, so if walking away and leaving them with an empty room is 1) actually a problem for them and 2) something you could do, then you might have more leverage to negotiate.

Other things to think about:
You could look for a private landlord. Less likely to do this, more likely to negotiate.
Look for a smaller flat, where the total rent is less and your liability is less, even if the per person rent is higher.
Look for a huge flat with rooms rented individually, not the whole flat joint and several (this type of guarantor agreement only makes sense on a joint and several tenancy).
Try to make sure the co-tenants and/or their parents are trustworthy and solvent.

Also bear in mind the agent will be looking for large incomes or guarantors for all the tenants, and although they can pursue you for the whole rent, they wouldn't do so unless they had failed to get it from the other students and parents. So if they are doing their job halfway properly it's quite a low risk. Although these agreements are common, I've never heard of a guarantor actually being pursued for anything beyond their child's part of the rent. I'd be quite interested if anyone has an example of a County Court Judgement or Sheriff Court Decree enforcing this type of agreement.

Also bear in mind that even if you don't sign a guarantor agreement covering the whole flat, your son is probably stuck with a joint and several agreement. So he will be liable for the whole rent, even if you're not. Would you let him go bankrupt rather than bail him out under those circumstances?
Welsh Kate - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

Most Universities have, through their Student Unions, a considerable amount of expertise on deposits, rents, rent guarantees etc (and indeed many run a rent guarantee scheme for students who don't have a parent or other who can act as guarantor for them).
If your son's at a UK university, the most sensible thing would be to check in with the residences office in his students union to see what info and guidance they have on the issue of one parent potentially being held responsible for the rents of all those in a student house.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

Never found a way out of it. Completely unfair contract but they wont negotiate because they know they can get someone else.

If push comes to shove and there are multiple students and its joint and several liability they will most likely go after the guarantor with the deepest pockets. If one of the parents wouldn't be worth suing then that's the one to be guarantor.
RX-78 on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I have been in email contact with the agency, seems not budging on this. We might have to take the risk, our son is a bit frazzled by the house hunting and don't want him to fall out with his friends (according to him, they and their guarantors (i.e. parents) seem happy with the agreement).

Seeing as all the others had a higher budget for renting I hope their parents will be richer!

Seems the landlords are trying to reduce risk to zero for student accommodation.

neilh - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

Everybody's happy until it all goes pear shaped.

Just have your wits about you and try and meet the other parents and make a judgement call on it.

We acted as guarantor all the way through my daughters 3 years at a London uni and we just recognised there was a risk and kept an eye on things.That is about all you can do.

Just watch the gas/elec/water charges as well.
Trangia on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

I did it for my grandson. It's a nightmare and the landlord/agent has got you over a barrel, because, as another poster has said in a university town they will have loads of other tenants lined up. You are committing yourself to a potentially huge financial liability if the others default or cause damage, or there is pre-existing damage not recorded.

It's particularly important to insist on a full condition report and full inventory of the contents accompanied by photographs, and double check it yourself when he gets it. INSIST that anything not recorded is added, and get the amendments signed by the agent BEFORE any of them move in.

A bit like renting a car from a dodgy car rental company on the Costa Blanca!! By very very careful
RX-78 on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

Thanks everyone! So I have signed it????, hopefully my son doesn't have any dodgy friends, he is of course totally sound.????
Deadeye - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to RX-78:

> Google suggests while common it can and should be challenged. Get changed to one limited to your child. Anyone any experience of this?

Google may well say that... and it'd be a reasonable and fair stance. However, the landlord will simply say "next" and get someone thta will agree.

If you're truly concerned then you can get a parallel agreement between the signatories that reallocates the burden so that people only pay what they've incurred. As I understand it (and i'm NOT a lawyer) this would mean that in the case of default, you would have ot pay the landlord and then have claim against the person incurring the charge.

For the small sums likely to be involved we never thought it worthwhile beyond talkingto the other flatmates and agreeing that we each owned our own share.

More positively, 2 kids and 7 years' of Uni shared rentals and deposits etc. have by and large come back ok.

RX-78 on 05 Dec 2017
Sorry in my last reply those ?????s should have been emojis. We signed on the dotted line (actually in reality tried to draw my signature using the computer mouse on an e-contract)
SDM on 05 Dec 2017
In reply to Jack B:

> Also bear in mind the agent will be looking for large incomes or guarantors for all the tenants, and although they can pursue you for the whole rent, they wouldn't do so unless they had failed to get it from the other students and parents. So if they are doing their job halfway properly it's quite a low risk. Although these agreements are common, I've never heard of a guarantor actually being pursued for anything beyond their child's part of the rent. I'd be quite interested if anyone has an example of a County Court Judgement or Sheriff Court Decree enforcing this type of agreement.

Our housemate dropped out of university and ran away to Spain when he was 3 months behind on rent and with 6 months left on the contract. The letting agents / landlords thought it would be less effort to go after the remaining tenants and our guarantors rather than try to contact / chase the defaultor and his guarantors.

Ultimately, we got them to back down just before it made it to court and they went after the right people (no idea if they were ultimately successful or not). But it caused months of anxiety to everyone involved and cost much time and money to fight.

Do not ever assume that a landlord or letting agent will act fairly, logically or legally. They will mostly act in the way they think will give them the best chance of earning a quick buck.

All you can do is protect yourself as much as possible and fight them when they act unfairly. Sadly, supply and demand means the law offers very little protection for student tenants and these things are expensive, time consuming and stressful to fight.

A number of prospective tenants for the following year suddenly dropped their interest and no let had been agreed by the time we moved out, we have no idea why...

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