Q.If our daughter has signed a joint contract for her house why should we have to guarantee every student's rent?
Can we write on the contract that we only will cover her rent should she leave? If everyone guarantees their own child's rent then what is the problem? Why is their no risk at all for the agencies?
(Ms chris tob, 28 September 2008)
When a guarantor signs a rental agreement for another person they are legally bound to pay any amounts owed should the tenant leave. Your daughter has signed a joint contract asking you to be guarantor but this does not mean you should guarantee everyone that lives in this property. Students may have signed a short-hold tenancy agreement, which means that the contract is legally binding for the room in which they live. However, it sounds as if your daughter has co-signed a rental agreement with another for the whole house and the agency is requesting a guarantor for the whole property. Letting agencies will want to know that they are covered should any student leave and not pay outstanding rent; this is the reason they are asking for a guarantor. This condition is set in place in case students leave before the term ends or decides not to stay at university, or the accommodation they have rented. The letting agency will not only lose outstanding rent money but they will also lose any money until the property can be let again.
There is no legal requirement for a guarantor to guarantee the rents for all students living in one accommodation. A contract is not set in stone and there should be some negotiation available on the terms and conditions set out in the contract. For example, the guarantor should be able to guarantee for one person only, in this case your daughter, and have this condition placed in the contract, but only if the letting agency agrees. The agency will no doubt be asking for guarantees for the whole rental amount or they will not rent the accommodation. The agency is either looking for a guarantee from everyone who is renting or for one guarantor to cover everyone’s rent. However, it will be the case that guarantors and tenants still living in the property who have signed the agreement are liable if anyone else leaves the property owing outstanding rent. This will probably be stated in a clause in the contract and is common with multiple occupancy properties. The guarantor should read the contract carefully and only sign if he or she is in full agreement with all of the terms and conditions and the consequences for non payment.