New tenancy signed without guarantee

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    New tenancy signed without guarantee

    In the interests of openness: I was a guarantor for my son's tenancy whilst he was at university. He defaulted, left before the tenancy ended and owes about £2,600. I don't think I'm liable and would welcome opinions on whether I'm correct.

    I signed a guarantee (not a deed) for my son's AST whilst he was at university in 2019. Although I have since found out the letting agent struggled to get him to pay on time during the year, he got to the end of his first 12 months paid up to date. He signed a new AST in 2020 after asking for a smaller (and cheaper) room. I was unaware of this new tenancy agreement, the letting agent didn't send me a copy or ask me for a new guarantee. He has always struggled with mental health problems and during lockdown it appears to have become too much for him, he failed to complete his year at university and they refused to let him retake it. Without his student loan he was unable to pay rent and so the letting agent came to me as the guarantor. I asked for a copy of all the paperwork so I could give him (and myself) some advice and it was only at this time I found out that he had signed the new AST in 2020, the letting agent didn't feel it necessary to mention it. They also said that the incorrect address being on the 2019 tenancy agreement and guarantee was irrelevant which was interesting as I hadn't noticed it was wrong!

    So, having realised that a new AST had been signed that I was not asked to guarantee and had not seen I did what any guarantor in that situation does (sorry landlords) and informed the letting agent that my guarantee was for the AST signed in 2019, not the one in 2020 that I wasn't even aware of. They disagree and have instructed solicitors. I told them much the same and they have instructed some other solicitors. These new solicitors have sent a copy of the 2019 guarantee I signed and the 2020 AST that I wasn't given with a letter informing me that this is what their case will be based on. The guarantee contains what I presume are typical clauses referring to continuation of the tenancy and therefore guarantee after the fixed term has finished.

    There has been a serious breakdown in the relationship with my son (he's actually my stepson) that's stemmed from me getting into a new relationship a respectful amount of time after the death of his mother and I haven't spoken to him for months. His mental health, serious physical health problems (he was in hospital before Christmas with a life threatening infection that affected his already defective heart) and manipulative maternal grandmother that he's living with have only made things worse. It's not relevant to the guarantee as such but it explains why I'm not really able to sort things out with him. There's a whole story which is quite sad but you don't want to hear it.

    An aside to this but relevant is that I moved house about 6 months ago. I have informed the solicitors that I don't live at the address they're sending letters to and asked them to stop as I won't get the mail but the new solicitors have written to me there regardless. I genuinely don't pick up mail from that house, I only know that a new solicitor has written to me there because my employer incorrectly posted a new laptop to me at my old address and the new occupants got in touch to let me know to collect it and handed over some post they'd kept as well. I have declined the requests to provide my new address as I don't believe they have a claim with me and therefore have no need of it and have asked that they email me instead. Is this a reasonable request and should they stop sending letters to me at an address I've told them I don't live at and don't get post from? Surely serving court papers (if they do) on me at an address they know I don't live at wouldn't be valid?

    Anyway, on to my actual question which is probably quite obvious. Is my understanding correct that failure to provide me with a copy of the new AST signed in 2020 and ask for a new guarantee means that my guarantee expired when the AST signed in 2020 came into effect?

    Pay the money and stop being an ass.

    You knew what you were doing at the start and are looking at ways to weazle out of it.

    Morally, it doesnt matter if the paperwork was done correctly as you agreed to be guarantor.

    Now your stepson is struggling, not helped by his mothers death and you not only want to abandon him when he is desperate for help but want him to burden the financial penalty you agreed to cover.


    PS others will come along and help you avoid paying but it doesn't change the person you are.
    My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


      Actually, I have tried to help him. A lot. I sat next to him in hospital while he told me he didn't want to die. Can you imagine your child telling you something like that? The doctor gave me percentage survival rates for the emergency surgery they thought he was going to have to have. This is all a couple of years after his sister finished treatment for cancer which she was diagnosed with a year and a half after their mum died of cancer. He won't talk to me or pretty much any of his family or friends. He's got some serious mental health issues and I can't help. The breakdown in my relationship with him causes me genuine pain and sleepless nights. But thanks for sticking the knife in, much appreciated. If it makes you feel better you just made a grown man cry. 👍🏼


        Then if you care, pay up and move on.

        What do you think happens if you dont pay?

        Your stepson, who cannot cope with much at present, will face court and then have a CCJ hanging over him.

        You can help - and perhaps that sole act might be the thing to reconcile your issues and you both begin talking again.
        My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


          Originally posted by JohnWatson View Post
          Anyway, on to my actual question which is probably quite obvious. Is my understanding correct that failure to provide me with a copy of the new AST signed in 2020 and ask for a new guarantee means that my guarantee expired when the AST signed in 2020 came into effect?
          Guarantor agreements are really hard to get right and enforce anyway.
          If he moved to a different place, with a different rent, and a different address, and signed a new agreement then I think there is just about no chance of them making a successful claim. You could quote the full clause regarding the 'continuation' to maybe get more detailed opinions.

          When posting on the internet, someone will always make the worst possible interpretation of whatever you posted. Some people will keep it to themselves, some won't, try not to get upset by it.


            Don't pay until and if only court orders you to. See Shelter legal website on guarantees and further info .

            As above, guarantees v difficult to get right, chances are it's unenforceable.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


              Practical things first.

              If you decline to give the solicitors a new address for them to contact you, they are allowed (and are possibly obliged to) use the last address you gave them.
              They’ll keep writing to you, can serve legal papers and you might get taken to court and lose by default, which can be a nightmare to sort out, and may not be possible.

              It’s in your interest to engage with the people chasing you for money and, given that you don’t believe they’re right, should be seen to be making that point and cooperating with them by trying to correct them.

              If the second tenancy is a new agreement for a different property with a new fixed term, it isn’t likely to be a continuation of the first tenancy, it’s more likely to be a completely different, new tenancy.

              You have to sort out the moral aspect for yourself.
              Your stepson was only able to enter an agreement for accommodation because of your guarantee.
              The agent seems to have cocked up, giving you a loophole.
              You get to live with yourself.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                I do agree with ' jpkeates' above, if you do not correspond with them you could lose in the end by default, and they may actually rely upon this knowing they have a very poor chance of success in a court based on the argument it is a continuation, which i do not believe it is..... you may be playing right into their hands with your approach. In terms of the moral argument... i work in an 'industry' that has a great deal of grey in any family situation so I do not make judgment based upon very limit information, life (family life especially) is rarely straight forward and it is easy to throw stones from afar, all the best and i hope your stepson finds the mental health assistance he clearly needs.


                  Keeping to the law and on the basis of what JohnWatson has said:

                  The absence of a deed is a point worth making so long as the guarantee was not expressed to be made for a valid consideration.

                  Guarantees which purport to cover any tenancy other than the initial tenancy are of dubious value. There is the problem of whether a new tenancy is a continuation.

                  The killer point though has to be that if the second tenancy was of a different room no way can it be considered a continuation of the first tenancy.

                  If JohnWatson posts the guarantee omitting personal details and confirms that the first and second tenancies were of different rooms we can suggest how he can make a full response to the landlord's solicitors.


                    In the OPs shoes I would also not pay up. The mistake was not the OPs. The agent / LL should have got the paperwork right when the new tenancy began. That is not the OPs fault. In his position I would write to the solicitor (again) explaining that any case against you will fail (if it indeed was an entirely new AST) and why. As for giving your address, as pointed out above you do not wish to lose by default. Is there any way to get mail redirected at this stage (I have no idea?) I do not think this is a moral question at all and wish the OP well.
                    Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


                      Thanks for the responses everyone. From a moral standpoint (appreciating that this is a landlord forum and I'm the "enemy") I would have declined to guarantee for a further term if I was asked. I would have asked about his payment history and known the risk and our relationship was pretty damaged by that point. I can't risk my security clearance and I was in the process of buying a new house which was reducing my disposable income considerably to a level where I couldn't comfortably pay his rent as well as my mortgage. I would have had to regretfully decline and try and help him with the consequences if he asked for it. The landlord, I'm sure, would have recourse with the letting agent who are responsible for the mistake. I assume they would have some sort of professional indemnity insurance for such things. It could probably have been sorted by now but I doubt anyone has informed the landlord of the situation, they're just happy to keep taking his money.


                        In these circumstances would you consider negotiating with them? I agree it's unlikely they would be successfull in a legal action, but perhaps the way forward so everyone comes out of the situation feeling fine, including your stepson, might be to make an offer. You can couch it in terms of they are very unlikely to succeed but you wish to avoid further stress for him. I think in your situation it's how I would deal with it, not least because you are helping your stepson avoid further angst, because the money is owed, and sometimes simply because it's the right thing to do. £800 as an offer is reasonable and they'd be stupid not to take it.

                        If they refuse you have fulfilled any moral obligation.

                        I agree with pp that you either need to put a redirect on your post or provide an address for service, to not do so would be foolhardy.

                        Best wishes.


                          You know what? Have you tried seeing a lawyer about the accommodation contract?

                          why am I mentioning this?

                          Many years ago when I was at university the course I did was not the right one for me and I pulled out however already signed 1 year contract in private residence in London.

                          long story short I saw a lawyer and luckily the contract was a sham as it was stated in the contract that the room I had had a sink which it did not. This contract was void and dismissed and no longer owning rent. Lawyer saved my bacon.

                          Thus no money for that landlord Try making sure you legally must pay and there are no clauses that can get you out first. In other words take the contract to a lawyer first before paying.

                          oh and ‘landlord-man’ it is not your place to judge so keep your condescending nonsense to yourself and be more polite.


                            I would not make an offer...the only moral issue is between the OP and his relative not the OP and the LL/Agent who did not (we assume) do the paperwork correctly.
                            Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


                              Originally posted by mokka View Post
                              oh and ‘landlord-man’ it is not your place to judge so keep your condescending nonsense to yourself and be more polite.
                              If the OP had not put about the family troubles in his post, Id have kept it to the facts presented.

                              He chose to include his version of the family issues and my point was to alleviate further suffering for his stepson.

                              To be honest, and I await the flak, I think most of the OP was more for the father to feel vindicated for his actions toward his stepson and only then to ask for clarification on the legalities.

                              The son is the one suffering and is about to get hit with the realisation that stepdad isnt prepared to support him despite initially confirming he would.

                              If that relationship had broken down, this will ensure its never rebuilt again.

                              But then, as the OP clearly pointed out, it's only his stepson and the OP has a new family to focus on now.


                              My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


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