How Do I Stop Being A Tenant Guarantor?

Stop Being A Tenant Guarantor

Common problem, common question.

Unfortunately, the question is usually asked by weepy-eyed do-gooders that were only too happy to accept liability if any rental debt is incurred by a loved one, no questions asked. That’s usually the problem, that no questions were asked, and most people don’t actually realise what they’re signing up for when agreeing to being a guarantor. When reality does hit home, they often want out.

The reality being that the Guarantor only vouched for sweet and responsible Elizabeth because they NEVER imagined she would ever rack up any debt with her landlord. She has. Now the Guarantor needs to step up.

Horrible lesson learned. But now, how do you stop being a guarantor for a tenant?

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. However, sadly, 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?

164 Join the Conversation...

Showing 114 - 164 comments (out of 164)
Guest Avatar
Neil rushby 26th April, 2020 @ 11:34

If a new contract is issued do the guarantors.
Have to resign a new contract

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 26th April, 2020 @ 11:43

@Neil
Why would new contracts be issued? The current one is presumably still valid. Changing agents doesn't change anything.

You only need new contracts if the T&C's of the contract need to be changed. In any case, the guarantor doesn't have to sign any new contract if they don't want to, in which case they will still be bound to the current/original contract.

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PK99 1st May, 2020 @ 07:38

I have been reading a lot of information on different sites about guarantors and there seems to be a lot of support for landlords and tenants but to guarantors. We sign the guarantee in good faith and then are presented with contracts we don't understand. I was sent a contract to sign quickly whilst at work and assured by the agent it would be for a fixed period, this is stated in the first page of my agreement. Then in the small print it expands to say I am responsible if the contract continues after the period.
The contract was sent electronically and the signature from the agent don't match up and I am wandering if my contract is even legal now. I was only sent the tenancy agreement after my son had signed it on the day my guarantee had been counter signed.

If a guarantor agreement has not consideration for the guarantor is it no balanced only in favour of the landlord and therefore unfair.

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Elbee 3rd May, 2020 @ 14:29

PK99
Unfortunately some lettings agents are somewhat unscrupulous and put pressure on potential guarantors to sign contracts without having much chance to read or understand them, or to take legal advice. I agree with you that this system is very unbalanced to guarantors for whom it is very difficult for them to terminate the contract if their circumstances change. Guarantors get no protection under the unfair contracts legislation because that only applies to consumer contracts (which these are not). Currently the onus is entirely on the potential guarantor to make sure they understand and are comfortable with the contract and everything this involves. Personally, I believe the estate agency industry needs a code of practice (preferably backed by legislation) to ensure that they do not mislead or pressure guarantors. In your own case, I cannot comment whether your contract is legally enforceable - you would need to take legal advice on this. Otherwise, the responsibility lies with your son to ensure he pays the rent and looks after the property. Best wishes. Elbee.

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Ray. 15th July, 2020 @ 20:02

Hi , I have been a guarantor for my ex wife for nearly 2 years an recently our son has decided to come live with me as there were issues at his mother's house and because he is at an age where he can pretty much decide for himself where he wants to live (although still at school) it has caused some friction between his mother and myself so much so I have advised her that I want out of this arrangement in fairness to her she has always paid her rent but with the current situation regarding our son she has made no bones in informing me that she has no intention of paying her rent and land that responsibility on to me, I have made it clear that I just can not possibly afford to pay rent aswell as run my own home and her decision would without doubt put me in serious debt but to no avail it would seem this is how it is going to be I am going to attempt to write a letter to the letting agent and hand deliver it explaining the position and the ramifications of her intended actions in an attempt to hopefully get them to terminate the tenancy I can not stress how much pressure this is having on myself although some readers would probably say it's my own fault but given her previous home was so under maintained by that particular landlord I couldn't see her an my son on the street so I kind of felt like I had an obligation to help I didn't anticipate the situation developing into what it is now can anyone give me any useful advice if possible

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Elbee 15th July, 2020 @ 20:23

Hi Ray, what a horrible situation to find yourself in. Unfortunately, as you clearly know, you will be responsible for her rent if she doesn't pay. What she may not realize however, is that her landlord it not going to want a tenant like that, or to have to go through the hoops of chasing a guarantor for her rent. You are right to keep the letting agent/landlord informed. At the risk of upsetting all the landlords on here, you might want to not be too quick to pay her unpaid rent. Landlords are not going to want that kind of hassle and will evict her sooner or later. She will be making herself homeless. Seek legal advice as soon as you can. I wish you all the very best. Elbee

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Ray 15th July, 2020 @ 20:49

Thank you for your advice I do appreciate it

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Ray 16th July, 2020 @ 08:52

I don't know if this is relevant but since signing up as guarantor I have not had any paperwork at all no copies of tenancy agreements or copies of guarantorship or copies of property inspections could this be if help for me to end my responsibilities with this issue

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Gary 16th July, 2020 @ 10:10

Ray, when it all goes pear-shaped, remember to ask Elbee to pay your costs when you lose in court.

Your wife, whatever her reasons, is potentially, putting someone she doesn’t know out of their home, should the person your guarantor for be made homeless.

In my mind, that makes you liable for damages, depending on what you signed for.

Most deeds of guarantee last for as long as the tenancy is in force and will be written as such.

Does it stipulate that it will be cancelled, if your wife is a bit of a cow?

If you don’t have any paperwork- I would hazard a guess that you have signed that you have, because my agreements acknowledge my guarantors have read the agreement and offers them the chance to take independent legal advice, BEFORE signing.

Do you think your wife invented “awkward bitch” ?

Deeds of guarantee & their application are centuries old.

I wonder if a court has ever heard a guarantor before, saying “I never got a copy”?

Have you told your guarantee to obtain a replacement, as the landlord would be facing a breach of deed?

Read what you signed, because I bet it says you acknowledge your responsibility in consideration of independent legal advice being available or words to that effect.

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Gary 16th July, 2020 @ 10:29

My apologies Ray, I have just read your post again and realise that it’s your wife heading towards an eviction.

So basically, your wife is making herself intentionally homeless, which won’t go down well with the local council.

Depending on your landlords viewpoint, he or she may issue a summons against both of you to save on court costs via a notice under section 8 of the housing act, which will include a money order judgement.
If the landlord has to enforce the judgement with a warrant for possession both your credit files will be badly hit.

If he or she chooses to go down the Section 21 route of the housing act, there is no money order attached, (no fault eviction)

If He or she sues for breach of deed - you’re in for a judgement against your credit file, (should they win).

You have signed a “Deed” and it will have been witnessed, if not witnessed it’s not valid anyway.

But contracts can also be verbal but you’ve acknowledged it’s existence by communicating about it.

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Kevin 23rd July, 2020 @ 08:44

I signed as a guarantor for my granddaughter 7 years ago,it was for her to rent a house but last 18 months has been a nightmare,getting demands off her landlord to pay her rent arrears,then I got a county court judgement to pay her debt off monthly,of which is happening now,also they put a charging order on my house and now land registry has sent me a form for a restriction order on my house,what I would like to know is am I still a guarantor,now that I have been blacklisted by the courts and how do I get out of this guarantor

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Elbee 23rd July, 2020 @ 09:04

Hi Kevin
I am really sorry to hear your granddaughter has put you in this position but this is what you signed up for when you agreed to be a guarantor. Regardless of the CCJs etc, if your granddaughter is still in the property, you are still a guarantor and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get out of it. The only two ways are for your granddaughter (or the landlord) to end the tenancy, or for your granddaughter to find another guarantor. You would need to seek legal advice to see if there are any other avenues open to you. Good luck.

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Erica 28th July, 2020 @ 20:29

Hi my nephews landlord has put his rent up twice without my knowledge and has taken out a new contract with him going from a letting agency to doing it privately . I have told him over a year ago i wasnt willing to be the guarantor anymore but he still insists i am . Im not sure what to do

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Elbee 28th July, 2020 @ 21:06

Hi Erica, it depends how your contract is worded but the likelihood is that you are still the guarantor. I suggest you seek legal advice. Good luck. Elbee

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Anthony 1st September, 2020 @ 08:22

I acted as guarantor for my nephew, everything was fine until he split with his girlfriend and then he became late with payments. We said we would have to stop being guarantor at the end of her lease for the year. We thought we would be o.k and could get out after 12 months, as this was only a few months away. However, we contacted the landlord they have responded that you cannot get out until the tenant has given notice and they are in a rolling contract. Since we told my nephew he is being frosty, I'm fearing we could get properly stitched up here. How do we get out this, it was never meant to be indefinitely....help

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Elbee 1st September, 2020 @ 10:54

Anthony, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is what you signed up for - yes, indefinitely. It is very difficult to get out of these contracts. It either ends when the tenancy ends, or if a new guarantor is found. Seek legal advice to find out if any other avenues are open to you. Good luck. Elbee

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Gary 2nd September, 2020 @ 01:21

It’s always the same pattern for guarantors, you are guaranteeing that your aquatinted is irrelevant at the time of default and you will step up and pay.

What tenant is ever going to give up a running tenancy, when they have a gold standard guarantee that should they wish to spend the rent on weed or motorbike spares, some numpty that signed 6 years ago will be held responsible for as long as they don’t budge?

A house is a financial asset worth up to 1/2 a million quid in some parts of the UK.

The landlord has to have some kind of guarantee that a complete stranger, who says they will pay in a contract, actually does.

A guarantor signs a ‘DEED’ , with quills, wet ink and witnesses not a consumer contract for a fridge.

If you could get out of a deed by saying “ I quit”, the landlords of the country would go bust overnight, along with most banks.

The best solution for a guarantor is a baseball bat with the tenants head in its path.

Get the tenant to pay and your problem ends, but your liability won’t until the tenant leaves.

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Anthony 2nd September, 2020 @ 15:40

Thanks Elbee, so there are no get out clauses. The contract was for 12 months and they is subject to rolling so we interpreted wrongly. Yes, thanks Gary I recognise the importance of entering a legal agreement. But, I don't think people who are not landlords see that being the financial safeguard for someone on their rent has the same longevity or commitment as a 25 year mortgage. It was meant to be supportive thing to do for a year or two at most get them on their feet and perhaps after a sustained period of employment that they would no longer require a guarantor. The baseball bat option is not really an option. We wanted to move and now we can't because of this commitment there must be another way out. Surely there should be a review built in or some part of the contract. If we go down the non payment route we will end up with defaults and judgements, but there must be a way to get them evicted without have to refuse payment Is there no arrangements you can have with a landlord or power to say i want to cease payment and them moved out?? Or how about as I am paying I might as well move in there too and at least get value for money

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Gary 3rd September, 2020 @ 00:43

Don’t get me wrong, Anthony, the people at fault are the legislative numpties in Parliament.

Even now they are listening to people who have a loud mouth and no brains.

If a landlord has a mortgaged property it really belongs to a bank, because if they miss their payments the bank will start repossession, they are not sentimental and will be brutal.

The loans that are taken for rented property are not classed as consumer loans, they are classed as commercial and don’t get the same FCA leeway.

The government has just announced that tenants now get 6 months notice and granted another 3 wishes to any delinquent tenant.

It’s just virtue signalling for free, but someone’s going to pay for it.

It’s going to get tougher for guarantors.

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Elbee 3rd September, 2020 @ 07:45

Agree with you on that one Gary. Hard times ahead for guarantors. I think this page is going to get busy too! I do think there is room to improve the current system - in particular making sure that guarantors understand what they are signing up for- which as we know, is not happening at the moment. Have a good week everyone!

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Carolann 3rd September, 2020 @ 21:43

A local lady became guarantor for single mum some years ago, who was on housing benefit, so rent has not been a problem. However, single mum now on remand for very serious offences and very unlikely to be released within the next decade or more. Guarantor given keys by police, but then had to return them to letting agency, as a relative planned to take on the property, and was given the keys. However, relative has now disappeared with keys. Guarantor now very worried she's going to lose her house. Have advised she should see a solicitor, but does the contract cease when agency took back the keys?

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Gary 4th September, 2020 @ 13:14

The tenant should sign a deed of surrender, which simply states they are ....
1. Giving up the tenancy of their own free will.
2. Have been given the opportunity to obtain independent legal advice and have decided to carry out the surrender, regardless.
3. Get it signed.

But you’d still be responsible for the outstanding arrears.

The tenant could easily say the agent wanted access for boiler inspection and changed the locks and illegally evicted without a court order.

They shouldn’t be allowed to sublet to anyone else in the tenancy agreement.

Goto Shelters website to see what they currently advise tenants facing prison, as remand prisoners are normally protected from eviction by statute.

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DeDMeaT 8th January, 2021 @ 18:07

Hi
Looking for advice.
A friend of ours was a guarantor for their Mother in law. As far as I understand it was a rolling monthly tenancy. Unfortunately the tenant Has died before she did her middle aged son moved into the property without our friends knowledge. The landlord has said the rent is paid through until feb 1st but the tenant died in December.
Our friend has contacted the Landlord to state they do not want to continue as the guarantor as the contract was with the original tenant. The Landlord said he would offer the son a new contract but for now they are still responsible.
The son on the other hand has told our friend they would rather smash the house up before signing any contract.
Where do our friends stand and if it was a monthly renewable tenancy can it still be valid if the rent is up to date and the tenant is now dead?

Thanks

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Gary Dully 8th January, 2021 @ 18:30

See a solicitor that specialises in housing matters.
1st 30 mins should be free

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Elbee 9th January, 2021 @ 23:11

Hi Dedmeat
Interesting choice of moniker! I am pretty sure that once someone dies the contract automatically ends. You can't have a contract with a dead person. The guarantor could be liable for any arrears or costs to the point of death, but not after. Seek legal advice, and you may wish to inform the landlord of the threats that have been made. Best of luck. Elbee

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Tony 27th March, 2021 @ 22:28

As a guarantor if I am called upon to pay unpaid rent does this give me rights to stay in the property?

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Tony 27th March, 2021 @ 23:27

From different things I have read am I correct in thinking if the tenancy agreement has not been adhered to by either the tenant or landlord then I could have a reason to be released from being the guarantor?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 28th March, 2021 @ 08:58

@Tony
That wouldn't really make sense, because guarantors are only useful when the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy e.g. falls into arrears. So what makes you think your contract as a guarantor would terminate when you're most needed?

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Elbee 28th March, 2021 @ 19:01

Tony
I think its "no" on both counts.

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sneakdegree 25th April, 2021 @ 19:50

Hi everyone,
I have been locked into a guarantor agreement since 2017, as the author says 'another weepy-eyed do-gooder'.

I stepped in to support my little relatives having a roof over their head - fast forward to 2021, I've got custody of the little ones and the mother isn't acknowledging my request to no longer be the guarantor.

The estate agents take it out on you also as if you've done something wrong - how dare you wish to leave, drilling in the fact that you are tied in 'till death do us part' for as long as they live in the property despite whether your personal circumstances have changed or not, egging you on to get legal advice 'go on then'!.

I am now going through the route of the complaint procedure, property ombudsmen and legal advice.

Countrywide lettings / Blundells - AVOID BEING A GUARANTOR.

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Elbee 25th April, 2021 @ 22:02

Sneakdegree
Keep us posted on how you get on. Would love to hear if anyone has ever got out of one of these contracts.

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Gary Dully 25th April, 2021 @ 22:26

Sneakdegree,
You have signed a “Deed”, which is a super duper contract.

To end it without a suitable replacement with another guarantor or security deposit for the landlord is a breach of contract and also threatens a legal tenancy.

Your circumstances may have changed, but has the terms of the tenancy?

Why do you want to end it?

You knowingly entered into a contract of guarantee, that stated it continues until the tenancy has legally ended.

If a court dissolved a deed, it could be catastrophic in the World of commerce and banking, because everyone would try the same thing.

The tenancy will be protected from attack and influence by you and you might be guilty of harassment.

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sneakdegree 25th April, 2021 @ 22:59

Will do Elbee :)

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Amanda Plummer-Laidl 26th April, 2021 @ 12:30

Good luck getting it sorted. I was one of the first on here to comment about the title and feel guarantor's
are penalised and made to continue. Will your relatives be able to do this without you? Good luck.

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Ron Dowling 14th July, 2021 @ 11:44

Can I just be guarantor for 6 months ? Until perhaps a Second term comes around then sign for another 6 month months?

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Elbee 14th July, 2021 @ 15:48

Ron, in short the answer is no. Its unlikely the landlord would accept you as a guarantor for just six months. They normally want you to sign up for life. But if wouldn't hurt to ask the question. If you want an alternative route, the landlord might accept six months rent in advance. Good luck.

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Phil 17th August, 2021 @ 08:04

I'm the husband of a 'weepy eyed do gooder' who has ensured that her grandaughter had a roof over her head for the last four years.

She signed a contract - one paragraph - nowhere near as detailed as some on here and we have paid out as guarantors over £3500 so far and the landlord has given the tenant notice of eviction. We have had to pay court/legal/solicitor fees. My question is:

Does the guarantor have any rights over the speed at which events move? The landlord was very pushy until we paid the arrears but now, partly due to covid, everything seems to have stopped. The tenant has been issued with an eviction notice but that took eight weeks (not the two mentioned in court) and we did the chasing! The tenant still hasn't paid (leaving us with another £1500 worth of debt and yet the landlord hasn't sought a bailiff order.

We are guilty of 'doing the right thing' and our naivety has left us hugely out of pocket, with a relationship with our son and granddaughter that will never be fixed. I understand the approach of 'you should've thought more/it's your own fault' but the cards are unfairly stacked against people wanting to help family out. The legislation is very poor and needs addressing urgently.

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Elbee 17th August, 2021 @ 13:40

Hi Phil, sorry to hear about your situation. I don't think you have much in the way of control over how quickly things move to evict, apart from perhaps pestering/offering help to the landlord and estate agent. But as any landlord on here will tell you, the court system is very slow. And evicting someone is not easy at the best of times. Of course covid has made things worse. I hope it doesn't drag on much longer for you and totally empathize with the relationship breakdown. Best wishes Elbee

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David 8th September, 2021 @ 18:33

A friend signed a Deed of G for her sister and b/f on a joint AST.
Soon after the friend was assaulted by her sister - family now not talking to sister.
B/f then died - so assume his estate is also responsible - until annual renewal point.

Does the joint tenancy agreement now end at the next annual renewal point?
The sister is still we think in the property so is that a new separate sole tenancy?

The deed of G states - it covers the sister and b/f - not sister or b/f. So has the deed ended at renewal point.
He had the money - and she has mental health issues and may not be able to afford it.
There are some other issues over the deed etc - but the death of b/f is the main topic.

Landlord has now sent it to court - saying he believes the b/f is still living there! But been dead 18 months and was told at the time! Letting agents have confirmed in writing a few times knew of death.

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Phil 28th November, 2021 @ 17:18

Hi,

I posted earlier asking about whether a Guarantor has any rights about the speed things move - I felt we were being taken advantage of.

You were quite right - we have no 'rights' but you absolutely can push for things to happen. We have taken the lead in this eviction and, despite it being returned to court (wrongfully), we have managed to bring the eviction forward to before Christmas.

So, my message to 'do gooders' is don't give up, dont back down. You did the right thing but the system needs looking at. We have worked together with the landlord and brought a miserable and expsensive lesson to an end on good terms.

Chin up and Good luck everyone.

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Nas 13th December, 2021 @ 10:12

Lettings agents for put me under lot of pressure, stressing me out and influencing me to sign a guarantor agreement for in November 2021.

Out of the blue,I was sent an email without any notice from the tenant and the letting agency asking me to start a guarantor application with a referencing company but the application failed because `I am not in employment`.Then I did not hear from the letting agent for a week.
During that week the agency did not provide me with appropriate advise on what a guarantor is, I was not given a copy of the deed of guarantee and copy of the tenancy agreement to read into the risks and responsibilities of being a guarantor. Nor was I given and terms and conditions. I am nearly 65 and suffer from several health conditions which also affect mental health.
Then after a week the agents sent me another email asking me to complete an online guarantor agreement. Again because of my unemployed status I was unable to complete the form. I began to receive phone calls from the agent, he told me to enter `retired` in the status part. I told him I was not retired. After several calls the agent had managed to influence and coerce me into to signing the guarantor agreement. At no time did the agent advise me on my obligations, nothing was explained to me, I was not given a chance or time to read the agreement before he persuaded me to sign the agreement, he wanted me to sign the document quickly.
Could you confirm whether the guarantor agreement is legal, or can it be deemed null and void.
Thank you

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Elbee 13th December, 2021 @ 22:32

Hi Nas, sorry to hear about this. Its not entirely clear from your story.... do you actually know the tenant? If so, I would take it up with them first and see if they can get someone else to act as guarantor. The agency certainly seem to have acted very unethically here and I would also recommend you complain to their senior management. It probably wont help you, but might stop them doing it to someone else. As for whether its legally enforceable, only a court can decide that. I suggest you seek legal advice. Best of luck.

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Phil 19th January, 2022 @ 19:25

Previous Post 151 and 154

We have finally got our former daughter-in-law out of the house.

We stepped up and took control ahead of the landlords solicitors and really sped thing up. As I said before, you can and will get through this but you MUST not sit back and wait for others.

Good luck everyone out there.

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Elbee 20th January, 2022 @ 16:10

HI Phil
Good news. Glad to hear you have the situation resolved. Good luck for the future.

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Nas 21st January, 2022 @ 10:53

Hi Phil,
So to answer your question, the tenant is my son.
Initially, when I complained, the letting agent didn't want to take any responsibility for pressuring me into writing 'retired' status in the guarantor form. They said that I did that of my own free will!This is not true.
In the meantime, son has managed to end his tenancy because there are so many issues with the rental property. It was only after that had happened, that the agent accepted my withdrawal as a guarantor for the property.Phew, I am relieved.

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Thelma 24th January, 2022 @ 08:12

As a tenant my financial situation change and I can provide a income that was required in the beginning of tenancy agreement. Can I realease my garantor because now I’m financial able to take all the responsibilities ?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 24th January, 2022 @ 09:25

Hi Thelma,

The guarantor contract is between the landlord and the guarantor, not between yourself (the tenant) and the guarantor, so you won't be able to make the decision to break/end the contract.

It's something you will need to discuss with the landlord to see if they're willing to do it. However, it's also worth bearing in mind that landlords don't exclusively require a guarantor for tenant's with difficult financial situations, so even though you're in a better position (congrats, btw), it doesn't necessarily mean the landlord will be prepared to terminate the guarantor contract. Moreover, your circumstances might change for the worse at some point (I hope it doesn't!).

From a landlord's perspective, the guarantor is an extra bit of insurance.

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Wendy 30th March, 2022 @ 13:00

I stood guarantor for my son his wife and 8 kids several years ago when I was working. Unfortunately because of bad health I can no longer work and I'm now on benefits,they have got behind with the rent. Will I still be made to pay their rent as I can't afford to do ? Kind regards wendy

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Elbee 31st March, 2022 @ 12:57

Hi Wendy, sorry to hear of your change of circumstances. Unfortunately, this doesn't relieve you of your responsibility as a guarantor. If your son can't pay, you will have to. Not the answer you wanted to hear, but that is what you signed up for. Best of luck. Elbee

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Luis 31st March, 2022 @ 13:35

What if the rent goes up does it void the guarantor contract?

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