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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10487
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My son was looking at houses for second uni year and he put

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My son was looking at houses for second uni year and he put a deposit down with three other house-mates. I was not willing to sign at the guarantor agreement stage due to one of the tenants not having a guarantor themselves but I would still be liable for them if they walked away. ie he was not a student but would be on the tenancy. Now this person is asking me to repay their deposit costs as they believe it is my fault. Am I right in saying that he has no recourse, as I did not sign as a guarantor and they have made no requests or contacts to me directly, only by way of threatening texts of taking me to the small claims court to via my son.

Hello for clarification - who is he if not a student? a friend of one of the others?

this was the tenant without the guarantor?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
He is a working individual who is the boyfriend of one of the other student tenants. The guarantor agreement showed three guarantor names for the three students who were jointly and severally liable for the four tenants including him.

If you mean that it is the "non-guarantor tenant" who is saying that it's all your fault, tell him to get lost. He is dreaming.
You are at liberty to be a guarantor of anyone as you wish or not.
Whoever this person is, if that's the case, is an idiot. I can't be any more straight than that.
Based upon what you told me, you have no liability whatsoever.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.
Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.
If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.
Best wishes.
FES.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you for your reply - put a smile on my face. I shall indeed provide a rating in order for you to receive your pat.I have drafted an email to this young man and wonder if your service offers guidance on that? Not sure what conversations have been had between the group but that will be between them.I attach his text and my response just in case.Textfrom proponent: Hi Rob. I'm going to assume due to the fact there has been no response to these messages that you accept full responsibility for the holding deposit that we placed down and that you will repay me, Lucy's guarentoor and Rachel's guarentoor back in full. Also that you accept any further charges that we may get from Townsend's estate agents. I am assuming this as you have not replied to any of the messages sent previously in the proper manner or a timely manner. If you fail to pay us all back within 7 Days of receiving this message, I will have no other choice than to take your guarentoors to small claims courts for the sum of £750 split three ways between me, Lucy's guarentoor and Rachel's guarentoor. Furthermore to this, I have received no email from you to Townsend's estate agents stating that we wish to pull out of the house. You have deemed yourself responsible for the sending of that email and a phone call. It you have sent that, please immediately forward to myself so I can place it in my records. Thank you Robert. You have seven days before I will take your guarentoors to court Oh it also states that you are responsible for notifying your guarentoor that they are severally liable (such as was stated on those forms) which is what you have said that your parents had a problem withmy email reply: I understand from Robert that you have sent a text to him relating to the deposit monies that you believe you and your other potential cohabiters are owed relating to the property at***** Guildford.After reading this rather threatening and litigious correspondence and taking further advice, you do not have any legal recourse. I am not Robert’s guarantor as I did not sign any legal documentation.You should have been made aware of the need for student guarantors, and the situation that arose where you did not require your own should have been made known to all potential guarantors prior to you paying the deposit.You are all adults who looked at this property under your own volition and knowingly paid a non-refundable deposit without any prior discussions or arrangements with me in this regard.I decided not to proceed in signing the guarantor agreement. Partly due to it making all guarantors jointly and severally liable but mainly due to the fact you did not have a guarantor of your own and it would be a personal risk to my own family finances for a stranger. For the same reasons the letting agency is requesting guarantors, I have no knowledge of your previous letting behaviour, nor would I have any financial protection, should you walk away leaving any remaining tenants and their respective guarantors liable.I did request from the agent (an email sent 19th April) whether I could sign a separate agreement pertaining to my own son – they replied the same day that this was not possible.They indicated they would investigate other options (an email received 23rd April), which I may have been open to, but I never heard back from them in that regard.I understand your prospective co-tenants were made aware (a meeting on 26th April between Robert, Lucy and Rachel) that I was not going to sign under the original circumstances and no one made any effort to contact me directly to discuss the matter choosing to press an inexperienced first year student to make intervening decisions and have discussions.In order to regain any monies via a court you have to prove that a debt is owed between the parties in question. Prior to this letter to you, I have never received or sent any correspondence, written or verbal from either yourself, your potential co-tenants or any of the potential guarantors, much less met you.I understand that this is an unfortunate sequence of events, which naturally makes one feel a victim, however, I ask you and your potential co-tenants not to make any further requests through Robert. This is a situation not of his making or fault and to blame or ostracise him would be seen by me as flagrant bullying behaviour.If you wish to discuss this further with me I would be happy to do so and to meet with you directly – you can contact me directly.If, however, if you choose to initiate any Court proceedings, then that is your prerogative, but I must make you aware that I will be advising my own legal counsel to fully defend my position and shall press for any legal costs to be met by you.

You have far more patience than I have.
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I would cut it down to a couple of paragraphs simply saying that if he decided that he wanted to pay a deposit without having a guarantor in place, that was his choice.
You didn't sign any guarantee for your own reasons and therefore you have no liability.
You have taken legal advice and suggest that he does the same before going off issuing ill-advised Small Claims Court proceedings which you will not only defend but you will ask the judge to award costs against him on the basis of his completely unreasonable and misinformed behaviour.
You have no offer to make.
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If you want to make it longer and a bit more explanatory, there is nothing wrong with what you have done albeit a little wordy.

F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you so much for that - well it has gone off.
Did make a couple of tweaks - ie using misinformed and suggesting he takes legal advice of his own before taking action.
But left it wordy.
Should keep him busy with a dictionary for this evening.
Now just waiting to see how boy wonder responds.
Thank you again.