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Should I Act As A Guarantor for My Child's University Accommodation?

View profile for Sara Garnett
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It's  coming up to that time of year when university accommodation is being looked at and terms agreed with landlords.  We are often contacted by parents who have been asked to guarantee the tenancy agreement which is being signed. 

What Am I Agreeing To?

The first thing that you should do is to look at what it is that you are being asked to guarantee.  You should always ensure that you have been provided with and have read and understood a copy of the agreement which you are being asked to guarantee.  The agreement may make the tenant responsible to the landlord either individually or jointly with others who are living in the property.    If there is joint liability then this will usually mean joint and several liability and each tenant can be held responsible for any rent arrears or damage to the property rather than just for their share of the rent or damage that they have caused.  If you are acting as a guarantor to an agreement which has joint liability then you could find yourself being responsible to pay more than your child’s share of the rent as well as for damage caused by others to the property.  This could be a significant financial risk and you should ensure that any guarantee that you sign is either limited to rectifying your child’s default or specifies a maximum limit to your liability.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Reduce The Risk?

There are other steps which you can take to mitigate your exposure under the terms of a guarantee. 

The landlord may be willing to agree to include provision in the guarantee that they will notify you as soon as there is any late payment or other default.  It is helpful to know sooner rather than later if the rent money is being spent elsewhere rather than being paid to the landlord.   This will mean that you may be able to address this before more payments are missed rather than being faced with a large bill at the end of the agreement. 

You should also ensure that the contract accurately reflects the terms agreed and that there have been no typos when the rent or dates have been inserted.

Immediately prior to the beginning of the agreement , the inventory provided by the landlord should be checked carefully and any items missing or damaged should be noted and advised to the landlord.  Similarly any damage to the property should be noted and agreed with the landlord so that there is an agreed record. 

Before signing on the dotted line you should bear in mind that there is usually no get out of these agreements if there is a change of heart. You need to ensure that the property is what you want and think carefully if  the place on the course is not guaranteed.

If you have been asked to sign a guarantee agreement our Property Team would be more than happy to advise you on the nature of the agreement.