How Do I Stop Being A Tenant Guarantor?

Common problem, common question.

Unfortunately, the question is usually posed by a weepy-eyed do-gooder that wears their heart on their sleeve and was only too happy to vouch for a loved one, no questions asked. That’s usually the problem, no questions were asked.

I’m pretty sure a lot of guarantors don’t fully understand what their legal responsibilities are until they’re actually forced to step up and swallow the consequences of their duties.

Being a Guarantor is no joke, and it’s probably the only selfless good deed in this snake-oil industry. I’ve yet to witness anyone gain any joy from being one, so it’s important to fully understand the risks of being a Guarantor… before actually agreeing to be one. It’s not exactly rocket science.

I’m no expert in this field, but I’ve read many cases from both external sources and comments left on my blog, so I’ve managed to pick up a few nuggets of information. From what I’ve aware, there are a handful of ways in which a guarantor can actually stop being a guarantor, which are as follows:

  • The landlord allows the guarantor to surrender their legal obligations as a guarantor. In this case, the guarantor should get this in writing from the landlord.
  • If the Deed of guarantee contains a termination provision (allowing the guarantor to withdraw on say two months’ notice)- the provision can allow the termination during the fixed term.
  • If any term of the tenancy changes (e.g. rent increase) the guarantee will automatically come to an end.
  • Death of either party.
  • If a new tenancy is entered into, the guarantee will automatically come to an end, unless a term in the guarantee states an automatic continuation.

In most cases, the conditions above depend on the wording of the Deed of guarantee, so it’s important to read the terms with due diligence, and seek legal advice if uncertain.

If anyone believes any of the above to be untrue, or can expand on any of the escape routes, please let me know. Also, has anyone successfully or unsuccessfully got out of being a guarantor? If so, which route did you go down?

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22 Comments- join the conversation...

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Mary Hogan 21st September, 2012 @ 11:19

I am really amazed at the condescending tone of this and other write-ups on Being a Guarantor.
I have every sympathy with property owners (I hope to be one myself one day)but the laws on Guarantorship are grossly unfair.
As I was coming up to reirement, I knew I couldn't afford to run my home with my two children aged 28 and 30 in it. I downsized and put my children into separate accommodation, guaranting their rent for 12 months. Then, I made it clear to them, they were on their own. That was two years ago.
My daughter - no problem. My son, on the other hand, regularly 'forgets' to pay his rent, and I have to. He can afford to pay it, but why should he when he knows I will, rather than go to court - and I'll still have to pay it anyway? I signed up for 12 months. My son signed up for another 12 months, and even though I was not asked, it turns out I am still guarantor, and will be until HE decides to leave. I have no say. How can this be fair or right? My son has me over the proverbial barrel.
What should happen is this: I am guarantor for the 12 months I signed up for - no small print should be able alter the main thrust of the agreement. After 12 months, I am asked if I wish to continue. If not, the landlord can let the tenant stay with no guarantee, or the tenant has to leave and the Landlord is free to get a new tenant. I know if he was under threat of eviction, he would pay his rent. He loves his flat.
But, of course, this doesn't suit the landlord, who wants the convenience of a sitting tenant. And I, like so many good-hearted parents who genuinely wanted to give their children a help to start off, I will have to pay til I am in my grave, or on the street, whichever comes first.
How on earth can that be right on any level? If I buy a watch with a 12 month guarantee, I don't expect the seller to guarantee it forever!
The law, as they say, is an ass!

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ruphilyn 17th October, 2012 @ 12:04

It's all up to you if you will be a guarantor or not because being a guarantor has also responsibilities and you should know your rights about being a guarantor.

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Michala 20th October, 2012 @ 19:06

My tenancy and my homeowner gurantors contracts ended in sept, is my homeowner guaranto still liable?

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Steve 8th May, 2013 @ 00:44

I signed a six year commercial lease and went personal guarantor. THe landlord locked me out when I missed three months rent repayments. Did the landlord terminate my lease? The landlord wants me to payout the balance of the lease as guarantor. Can he do that if the lease has come to an end by the actions of the landlord?

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Jenny 6th June, 2013 @ 23:24

I am guarantor for my daughters rent which started on 1st March 2013 for a period of 6 months. She has paid her rent on time very month since. I have just been made redundant. Am I still responsible as her guarantor and will I still be able to be her guarantor? I'm worried that now I am unemployed she may lose her flat.

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kay Jeffrey 1st August, 2013 @ 17:26

Hi I wonder if you can help me i have a daughter in university she has never worked so when she has finished university if she wanted to rent a house or a flat would we have to sign as guarantours for her and can you tell me howlong she would have to work before she could rent a house or a flat it would help if I new about this many thanks K J Jeffrey

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amy 3rd October, 2013 @ 07:40

My mum is guarantor on my sister's house the think is my sister and her boyfriend don't won't anything to do with the family and have had the police sent to my mums where she has had to sign a contract saying she isn't allowed anywhere near the property or have any conections with my sister (boyfriend very controlling) where will my mum stand of coming of being guarantor as the police said she not allowedanything to do with them

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AJPL 13th October, 2013 @ 16:18

My mum was forced into signing a commercial lease as guarantor when my sister and I were out of the room. She had cataracts at the time and was known to be retired. The witness worked for the landlord and the second it was signed it was whipped away and we have only just seen it over 4 years later. At the time she was not able to read correctly and they pushed her into signing when both my sister and I had left the room to see to my baby boy knowing having heard that we told her not to sign.

Should this be legally binding still. She did not agree to the terms of what they also changed the contract.


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Emma 6th November, 2013 @ 12:18

A guarantor is signs the lease with you and takes on your financial obligations under the lease. He chooses to become bound to the lease. Of course he has resposibilities and rights!This often means that a guarantor is liable for any rent or property damage that the leaseholder has failed to cover.

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LLK 19th November, 2013 @ 13:54

Myself and my husband are guarantors and holders of the lease on a commercial lease which comes to an end in August 2014. When we signed up the landlord said not to bother with solicitors and if we wanted to get out at any time we could give him 3 months rent to exit. Stupidly we believed him. The contract was signed by a witness but not witnessed by us. He keeps agreeing to our exit plans but the denies he ever agreed to them. What can we do?
Also there have been problems with the building-leaking roof- since we moved in last year. Only now is he repairing it as he know our lease will end in August.

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andrea tinkler 19th February, 2014 @ 16:29

I have my sons landlord requesting payment as he states i am guarantor. I have never signed anything, although the landlord has sent me a signed guarnator letter ( no witness or landlord signature). Im retired and have no desire to be a guarntor for anyone. How legal is this please?

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Paul 22nd March, 2014 @ 16:56

Does anyone know if the guarantor becomes bankrupt are they required to pay or stand over there agreement. Thanks

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Charmaine 4th April, 2014 @ 19:59

My gurantour signed a 6 month shorthold tenacy agreement does this mean even though she has never signed another agreement 2 years down the line she is still classed as the gurantour liable 2 pay charges ?

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kKen 30th April, 2014 @ 14:58

If there is no end to a contract and no way of the guarentor ending the agreement it could be deemed an 'unfair contract'. Look up guarentor on the Citizens Advice site then try the link on unfair contracts.

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e hodgson 14th May, 2014 @ 20:59

My son signed as a guarantor for his friend. His friend recieved housing benefit from the council, but he has not paid his rent for months. My son signed as guarantor over 2 years ago. The landlord has just rung to ask about the tenant (my sons friend) who has not paid the rent, and the house is in a mess, and the landlord cannot contact the tenant either nor can my son who has not seen this 'friend/tenant' for 6 months. PLease can someone tell us what to do, none of us have the money to pay these bills (we stupidly trusted him), and the lad has been recieving housing benefit so he could have paid, my son is in a very low wage and is self employed, this is very distressing and we don't know what to do about.

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Ian 19th May, 2014 @ 13:16

I have been a guarantor since 20th June 2012 for my brother (now ex) girlfriend. This was for an initial 6 month lease that then rolls on.
She got into arrears back in August-September 2013 and I worked with her and the letting agency to get the arrears cleared. As soon as this was done I sent 30 days written notification that I would no longer be held as a guarantor effective 24th October 2013.
I have heard nothing since until recently (May 2014) when the letting agent contacted to let me know that the account was again in arrears and that I was responsible.
I have read through the guarantor agreement and it does say that the agreement is ongoing but when does it stop. As far as I can see I have no say whatsoever. The tenant and the landlord can end the agreement with notice but as the guarantor, I have no way of getting out of this unless I die!!!!
Does anyone have any suggestions?

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kirsty 20th June, 2014 @ 08:25

you have probably been asked this lots. Me and my partner have just split up im the guarantor for the flat we live in. He gets housing benefits and i work and have 3 months left on the rented flat how do i stop being a guarantor before 3 months is up?

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Bev 14th August, 2014 @ 10:48

Hi everyone, we too are in the same position as all you guarentors, no end to it! and no rights. As you say it is all in favour of the Tenant who can do just as they like.We are faced with a big family arrgument that has coursed us to not want to be a guarentor, but we have to wither we like it or not, as there is no way we can stop. I have also learnt that even if my husband dies the guarentors contract still stays in force. Crazy! when somebody is 6 feet under. How it works is beyond me.
My logic says that if there are rent arrears at the time a guarentor dies, i can understand it will come out of the guaretors estate, but if there are no rent arrears at the time of death then the guarentors contract should end.and the resposibility should be with the tenent to find another one or get out of the property. These contracts that are in force for guarentors are in my opion makeing guarentors do something they no longer one to be apart of and cant get out of at all! I thought everybody in this world had rights, even convics. Where are the rights for guarentors?
we are not contact after a 6 months period to see if we want to still be a guarentor. its just continues automatically. In my opion it is an area that the goverment need to investigate, as they have other industrys. it is forceing people to continue with something they dont want to be in and their situation may have changed since first signing to be a guarentor.This is not right in this day and age!In my opion if a guarentors situation changes and they want to with draw, it should be allowed and the responsibilty to be on the tentant to fins another or get out. words to this effect should be incuded in contracts to allow a guarentor the chance to pull out and would place the responsibilty on the tenant who wants the property!
I feel very, very annoyed of the fact guarentors have no rights and can be rail roaded like this.

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laura 31st January, 2015 @ 17:50

My partner signed as guarantor for his daughter. He has not spoke to her for over a year. He has just had a letter yesterday to say her housing benefit has stopped and can't pay the rent. He has contacted her and she has told him she has done it on purpose,to make him pay !! Does he have any rights if this has been done maliciously ?

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michael 4th February, 2015 @ 13:40

i made the biggest mistake of my life guarantoring a property for my partners son in law and her two grandchildren to which he ran up rent arrears was evicted and refused to leave the property when he was finally evicted left the place a mess and had to be repaired anyway me being the guarantor and chased through the courts have just settled the bill with no thanks from anyone to the tune of over £4450 will never act as a guarantor again for anyone so guarantors please think hard about what your doing.

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Jemma 9th February, 2015 @ 12:45

Can anyone help,,, I am the guarantor for my brothers flat, he is unable to pay his last months rent so he is handing in his notice, the rent will be one month late and paid around the time he leaves the property. The estate agents are apparently going to call me to ask for the rent. Do I have a leg to stand on considering he is leaving the property and isn't refusing to pay its just going to be late as he cant afford it from this wage. I am with the same estate agents and have a really good relationship with them, I really don't want to fall out but I simply cannot pay, I knew the responsibility when signing the agreement but my brother was under threat never to put me in this position and I trusted him not to, party lifestyle soon catches up!

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Vee 4th March, 2015 @ 08:47

I signed up as a Guarantor in a Deed for my two sons sharing a flat and landlord is an absolute nightmare to deal with and not doing repairs. He signed them to a 12 month fixed and joint tenancy for 2 of my sons and 2 of other boys. He keeps harassing me for all of their rent.

Also despite my asking him he never provided a copy of the tenancy prior to signing up as guarantor at the time my boys were desperate being students and needed a place to live but I did ask him for a copy of the lease. As he did not provide this can I get out of my obligation of guarantor


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