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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71156
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Good afternoon. I signed as guarantor for my son and his girlfriend

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Good afternoon.
I signed as guarantor for my son and his girlfriend for a flat in January 2013. They have subsequently split up and the lettings company sent me a letter in August 2013 asking me to confirm in writing whether I was still willing to be guarantor for the girlfriend. I emailed them back immediately and said that no, I was not willing to be guarantor after my son had moved out. They emailed me back and basically said that until she found someone else I was still liable. If this is so, why did they write and ask me if I didn't have a choice?
Now she has moved out of the flat, but it was left in an awful state - paint tipped all over carpets and graffiti on the walls. She was getting housing benefit which paid the rent but the lettings company are telling me that they will be looking for me to pay rent from Oct 5th.
The girlfriend swears she has not cancelled the housing benefit, but the company are telling me different.
Am I still liable, even though I informed them I was not willing to carry on?
My husband has been working on the flat to get it fit for rent again, which the letting agent said was fine as the rent was being paid she wasn't in a rush to re-let. However, now the rent is not being paid and they are chasing me for it I am unsure what to do.
I asked if it was possible for the deposit to be returned to either the account it came out of (my sons) or to me as guarantor as some recompense for the money we are having to spend, but unless she will put in writing that she is happy with it any bond due would go to her. Which doesn't seem very fair.
She is aso refusing to let us have her key and we are worried that the work we are doing could all be undone if she goes in and lets her friends do the same again
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry if I didn't make it clear enough.

I need to know whether I am still responsible, even though I confirmed in writing that I was not happy to guarantor Emma after my son had left.

The lettings company sent me a letter asking me to confirm in writing whether I was happy to carry on and I responded immediately saying that no, I wasn't.

They then basically replied saying until Emma found someone else I was 'it'.

How long was the original contract please? I presume it was 12 months?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It was an initial 6 months contract, then going onto a rolling month by month.

You are not liable beyond the first AST. It is certainly right to say that the agreement roles over into a periodic unless she replaces him with somebody else so his liability may well continue but the guarantor is in an entirely different position.
A guarantee cannot just roll over into a new contract without consent and one wonders why they went to the trouble of asking you to consent if that were not the case.
They may well not accept this. They may well try to sue but they will get short shift. Even if the original contract seeks to extend the guarantee to cover rolling periods there is an argument that UCTA would strike down that clause.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So my liability as Guarantor stopped at the end of the initial 6 month contract?

Sorry, but I am a little confused by the wording of 'she' and 'him' in the second sentence.

Unless you have signed a new guarantor, in practical terms, your guarantee is limited to that period.
Your son is in a different position as he is still arguably responsible for the contract.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My son was never on the lease or part of any contract. It was all in his girlfriends name.

Thank you so much for your help. It has been a massive worry for me and you wouldn't believe how relieved I am.

No problem.
The only issue to consider is this. If they can show that any damage was caused during your guarantee period then you are liable for that. Obviously it is very difficult for them to do that but that is the risk.
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