Acting as Guarantor for Student in Houseshare Watch

stu3330
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I may be asked to sign up as Guarantor for my child in her newly-found houseshare with six other students. Rent will be inclusive of bills.

Just wondering if there is anything you would advise I look out for before signing. At the moment she is renting in halls but wants to share a house with friends in her second year. Appreciate any tips.
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DiddyDec
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Make sure that you are only Guaranteeing your child's portion of the agreement, not the other tenants.
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Origami Bullets
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(Original post by stu3330)
I may be asked to sign up as Guarantor for my child in her newly-found houseshare with six other students. Rent will be inclusive of bills.

Just wondering if there is anything you would advise I look out for before signing. At the moment she is renting in halls but wants to share a house with friends in her second year. Appreciate any tips.
This is standard, and you will have to sign for somewhere if you don't want your daughter to be homeless next year.

Have a read through the contract and check for things that are thoroughly illegal (eg I once saw a contract which attempted to make 14 day notice summary evictions legal). If you've no knowledge of housing law, then get your daughter to take it to the SU for checking. Remember that a contract is only a starting point - I've had every single tenancy agreement modified (including one near complete rewrite) before I've signed it, and I'm on private sector tenancy number 3 now.

The one clause that tends to alarm parents is that their offspring (and, by extension, the guarantor) are jointly and severally liable for the property. However, this is a standard clause - your daughter won't find a house that isn't on these terms, so you don't have much choice but to sign anyway.

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username1407003
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)
This is standard, and you will have to sign for somewhere if you don't want your daughter to be homeless next year.

Have a read through the contract and check for things that are thoroughly illegal (eg I once saw a contract which attempted to make 14 day notice summary evictions legal). If you've no knowledge of housing law, then get your daughter to take it to the SU for checking. Remember that a contract is only a starting point - I've had every single tenancy agreement modified (including one near complete rewrite) before I've signed it, and I'm on private sector tenancy number 3 now.

The one clause that tends to alarm parents is that their offspring (and, by extension, the guarantor) are jointly and severally liable for the property. However, this is a standard clause - your daughter won't find a house that isn't on these terms, so you don't have much choice but to sign anyway.

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That's not true at all and in that case only one guarantor is needed
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Folion
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Check which bills this will be inclusive of. Will they have to organise their own broadband and TV license for example? Also for things like heating the landlord might set the thermostat for example.
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SlowlorisIncognito
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)

The one clause that tends to alarm parents is that their offspring (and, by extension, the guarantor) are jointly and severally liable for the property. However, this is a standard clause - your daughter won't find a house that isn't on these terms, so you don't have much choice but to sign anyway.

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I know we have disagreed on this point in the past, but this is really not true in all of the UK. It does depend where you live. In general, the SU can advise on whether this is a standard term or not in the local area.

It's also worth bearing in mind that if you are jointly and severally liable, then all tenants are also liable for damages.

In some areas, it is very hard to avoid this term, but this is not true for all of the UK, and should be avoided where possible.
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parentlurker
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in general they dont have a lot of choice about renting after the first year as there aren't enough hall rooms for all and first years have priority.

If the landlord is not from a college approved list get the contract checked by the Student Union, who will know what is possible locally.

Check when rent has to be paid and what deposit is expected. In some parts of the country there will be a year lease, in others you may be able to get a 9 month contract. Deposits often have to be paid in summer before they have next year's finance.

Deposits should not be held by the landlord, check who does hold them.

Always wise to have your own photos showing the state of the property - preferaby signed by landlord or their agent.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by cali77)
That's not true at all and in that case only one guarantor is needed
Where there is joint and several liability, the guarantor should be making sure that all parents are standing as guarantors. Other house occupiers are less likely to be irresponsible if it is their own mother and father on the hook rather than the parents of a friend who may be little more than an acquaintance. It is also desirable that both parents guarantee each child. You are unlikely to know the family dynamics in someone else's family.


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DiddyDec
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It just so happens that I have my copy of my Guarantor Agreement which has been amended so that it is inline with the law. The original is made by the NLA (National Landlord Associations). My father who is a property lawyer described it as "The worst legal document I have ever seen in 32 years of practicing".

(personal details have been removed for obvious reasons)



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nulli tertius
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(Original post by DiddyDec)
It just so happens that I have my copy of my Guarantor Agreement which has been amended so that it is inline with the law. The original is made by the NLA (National Landlord Associations). My father who is a property lawyer described it as "The worst legal document I have ever seen in 32 years of practicing".
I wouldn't accept your father's amendments if I was acting for a landlord.

The purpose of the document is to make the guarantor jointly and severally liable for everything except rent where there is liability for only a proportionate share.

The effect of the changes is to make the guarantor only liable for a proportionate share of rent. In other words if one of the occupants, whether you or one of your fellow tenants, trashes the place, illegally sublets it or commits a nuisance which means that my client is sued by one of the neighbours; my client would have no recourse to your father whatsoever.
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I wouldn't accept your father's amendments if I was acting for a landlord.

The purpose of the document is to make the guarantor jointly and severally liable for everything except rent where there is liability for only a proportionate share.

The effect of the changes is to make the guarantor only liable for a proportionate share of rent. In other words if one of the occupants, whether you or one of your fellow tenants, trashes the place, illegally sublets it or commits a nuisance which means that my client is sued by one of the neighbours; my client would have no recourse to your father whatsoever.
The document is so broadly written that without it being witnessed by a legal professional it would not hold up in court.

Why should my father be liable for someone he has never met and has no control over what so ever?

If the occupants break their side of the contract then the blame should lie on the occupants and them alone.

My rent is guaranteed and I have a deposit on the property.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by DiddyDec)
The document is so broadly written that without it being witnessed by a legal professional it would not hold up in court.
I think you will find that guarantees in those terms are upheld every month by district judges up and down the country.

Why should my father be liable for someone he has never met and has no control over what so ever?
Because he wishes my client to let his property to you and that person.

If the occupants break their side of the contract then the blame should lie on the occupants and them alone.
My client isn't prepared to let on that basis. He isn't prepared to have to sue a group of people all of which will claim the problem is due either to some other one of the occupiers or to some visitor whose name the occupiers do not know.
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I think you will find that guarantees in those terms are upheld every month by district judges up and down the country.

Because he wishes my client to let his property to you and that person.

My client isn't prepared to let on that basis. He isn't prepared to have to sue a group of people all of which will claim the problem is due either to some other one of the occupiers or to some visitor whose name the occupiers do not know.
I trust my father's position on this matter. He would not be in the position he is in if he did not know what he was doing. It is not like he works for a tin pot firm operating a small high street firm.

The Contract was agreed upon and that is currently the house I am living in.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by DiddyDec)
I trust my father's position on this matter. He would not be in the position he is in if he did not know what he was doing. It is not like he works for a tin pot firm operating a small high street firm.

The Contract was agreed upon and that is currently the house I am living in.
Ultimately it is a market and whatever advice the landlord received, whether from the NLA or a solicitor, he chose to take your money.

Would I have done so, if I had been the client rather than the lawyer? I suspect it would have depended on whether I "liked to cut of your jib" and that of your fellow tenants and whether I thought I could get another group of tenants and parents who would sign on the dotted line.
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Ultimately it is a market and whatever advice the landlord received, whether from the NLA or a solicitor, he chose to take your money.

Would I have done so, if I had been the client rather than the lawyer? I suspect it would have depended on whether I "liked to cut of your jib" and that of your fellow tenants and whether I thought I could get another group of tenants and parents who would sign on the dotted line.
In my area most of the students don't cause that much trouble in the properties. This was the first year that they introduced Guarantors as there is only one letting agent in the town. They got free legal advise and I got what I wanted. Everyone in my house has amended contracts.
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