Court proceedings

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    Court proceedings

    Hi all

    I have a query regarding tenancy agreement contracts. My friend (lisa) signed a short term tenancy agreement contract and also signed her fathers name as a guarantor without his consent, when he found out about this he told her he will not have anything to do with this and will not be a guarantor. When she was told this she told the landlords that she can not stay there and found herself another place to live, this was before she even moved in. Now the landlords have been chasing her for payments for a whole year and sending her letters asking for the full amount of the agreement for the year even though she has never lived there. Now her father has received a letter from county courts stating that as a guarantor he is liable for the non payment. But he is saying why should he be as he never signed the contract. He is stating that should the guarantors signature not be signed in front of a third party or at least even in front of the landlord? How can they take him to court when his signature was fraudulently done and he never consented to it, also when lisa found out she told them she can not take up the place and never lived there. Can you please let me know what they can do and what the legal implications of this could be as lisa is quite worried this will go against her record.

    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    Originally posted by rocky221180 View Post
    Now the landlords have been chasing her for payments for a whole year and sending her letters asking for the full amount of the agreement for the year even though she has never lived there.
    But she signed a contract. Do you know whether the landlord re-let the property to someone else during this year? This is important, so if Lisa doesn't know, she needs to find out.

    Now her father has received a letter from county courts stating that as a guarantor he is liable for the non payment. But he is saying why should he be as he never signed the contract. He is stating that should the guarantors signature not be signed in front of a third party or at least even in front of the landlord?
    Assuming the document was a deed of guarantee, it must be witnessed and if it isn't it's invalid.

    How can they take him to court when his signature was fraudulently done and he never consented to it,
    Anyone can start a claim; winning it is a different matter. The father will have to defend the claim on the basis that his signature was forged, and the deed was not witnessed.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi

      As far as she knows it was not re-let out again, I don't think they even bothered to look for another tenant, they kept sending chasing letters for money for the whole agreement to her all year around, she did tell them several times she does not live there.

      It was a short-hold tenancy agreement that asked for the tennant signature the guarantors and the landlords, but her father never signed that agreement she signed it herself. Also if he defends the claim on the basis his signature was forged and not witnessed which it wasn't what will happen to Lisa, will this invalidate the contract or can they pursue her for fraud? what's the worst case scenario as she is really worried this will effect her student life now and can not concentrate on her studies because of her negligence?

      Comment


        #4
        Lisa is unlikely to be prosecuted for fraud unless her father presses charges. However, she will remain liable for the contract. Under normal circumstances, a landlord has no obligation to mitigate the rent, however I don't know if that applies when it is simply breach of contract (ie the 'tenancy' hadn't begun).

        Obviously, if a judge decides she must pay, and she doesn't (within 21? days) then she will get a CCJ against her name. This will make getting all kinds of credit difficult - from mortgages, through loans to mobile phone contracts. It will also make renting anywhere decent very difficult and may bar her from certain jobs.

        Best to sort it out before it gets to that stage.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
          Lisa is unlikely to be prosecuted for fraud unless her father presses charges.
          Is there really no come-uppance against her from any source though?

          Bear in mind that the LL here believes he has a properly signed and witnessed guarantor agreement, and the (only) reason it's not going to be valid is that the tenant has forged the thing. What else can the LL do under such circumstances to protect themselves - insist in being physically present when the agreement is signed?

          Comment


            #6
            no offence to anyone and I am absolutely not questioning the truthfulness of rocky or lisa but... there have been cases in the past where guarantors have claimed, when the bill/court papers arrived, that they never signed the guarantee... but later recanted and paid up...
            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...

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by rocky221180 View Post
              Hi
              As far as she knows it was not re-let out again, I don't think they even bothered to look for another tenant, they kept sending chasing letters for money for the whole agreement to her all year around, she did tell them several times she does not live there.
              Then she is almost certainly liable for rent for the whole fixed term. Rent is a debt, and there is no legal obligation to mitigate a debt (e.g. by seeking a replacement tenant). However, Lisa should seek professional advice, either from a solicitor, a Law Centre, or Citizens' Advice Bureau, before deciding whether to defend the claim or perhaps offer to settle out of court.

              if he defends the claim on the basis his signature was forged and not witnessed which it wasn't what will happen to Lisa, will this invalidate the contract or can they pursue her for fraud?
              No, it doesn't invalidate the contract.

              A prosecution for fraud would happen only if somebody reported Lisa to the police, and they decided it was in the public interest to prosecute (unlikely, I think) - a completely separate matter to a civil claim for unpaid rent.

              Comment


                #8
                I've revised my thoughts since making the above comment. See this other thread about T in a similar situation to Lisa.
                http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...302#post260302

                Comment


                  #9
                  Either way, Lisa's father is not personally liable as a guarantor unless:
                  a. it was he who executed; and
                  b. it was actually a Deed.
                  JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                  1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                  2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                  3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                  4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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