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willj23
19-03-2006, 01:21 AM
Can anyone help me out with my situation?

Im a student, who in August 05 took out a year long tenancy agreement with 3 other people for a private let property complete (agreement included having a guarentor).
I moved in to the property at the end of September 05 but due to unforseen circumstances i changed universitys and moved out of the property after just 2 weeks of living there. (I left the property in the same condition it was in, when i moved in).

Since then, i have paid the monthly rent of £300 on the property.
Due to financial restraints i missed a few payments in December and January and as such was charged a £15 "admin" charge by the landlord who sent letters requesting payment. After a couple of weeks i was threatened with court action.

I have tried to resolve this issue, by finding suitable replacements to which i found a few people, but the existing tenants refused to show them around (i was unable to at short notice as i live 2 hours away).

I paid the rent up until Febuary, and now find myself in the situation where the landlord is asking for Febuary and March rent, and will soon be asking for April, but i simply cant afford to pay it!
I have wrote to the landlord twice, offering to end the contract by offering £800 (plus my original £300 desposit) which was rejected, to which i offered a improved offer of £1000 (plus the deposit of £300).

As the contract is for a year the last rent payment is July 06, which totals to a total of £1800. The last month is supposed to be covered by the £300 deposit which is equal to a months rent.

I am aware that i do have a contract, there are a few issues that i have:

-The Landlord has said that everytime he sends a letter to me (and the other tenants) a charge of £15 is incurred. He has specified this amounts over £100 in fees although i have only recieved 3 letters. The letters are always sent second class delivery with no proof of posting, so therefore i have no proof he posted them or that i recieved them.

-The Landlord insists that if i cant afford to pay, than my guarentor (my father) will have to. However, to date my father has not recieved a copy of the guarentor contract he signed in August 05.

Is there anything i can do here?
I have told the landlord my situation but he continues to bill me and charge me for the pleasure.
If anyone has any plans of action i might take it would be appreciated as im completely lost with it all!

Thanks for your time.

MrShed
19-03-2006, 07:11 AM
Difficult situation....I sympathise. When you left after 2 weeks, did you notify the landlord/letting agent? Did you in fact give them notice as such? Did your father see a copy of the AST prior to signing the guarantor contract?

Steve C
19-03-2006, 09:04 AM
I will gladly concede if somebody comes along to correct what I say.

Is there a single tenancy agreement for all of the students, or is there an individual agreement for each of you?

If the latter, I would stop paying rent now (assuming the landlord did know you were leaving). The landlord has a duty to mitigate his loss. What measures has he taken to replace you as a tenant? If none, he would be on a hiding to nowhere if he sued either you or your father.

With a single tenancy agreement, it is likely to be worded that each tenant is equally and severally liable. In short, your fellow students would be as liable for your rent as you are and perhaps you should point this out to them.

MrShed
19-03-2006, 09:07 AM
Steve you are correct. The reason I asked the question I did is that it is not clear from the original post that the poster actually told the landlord he was leaving as such, just that he left and continued to pay the rent. In which case the landlord would have no loss to mitigate as such. But your second point about being jointly and severally liable is certainly true. The problem is that this poster, by being responsible and automatically assuming that he is totally responsible for the rest of the contract, may have done himself no favours.

Worldlife
19-03-2006, 09:45 AM
This one was worrying me too! Recall checking out some guarantor agreements for student lets to see if they had some good ideas for my own proposed agreement.

Steve has put this situation in a nutshell.

Wonder if willj23 obtained any input from his Students Union or the University Accommodation or welfare people as the situation seems an impossible one for a student on low income.

There's a comprehensive guide from Bristol Student Housing (http://www.bris.ac.uk/accom/dcts/housingguide.pdf.) that explains the different types of tenancy, period and break clauses and guarantors. It's a very thorough and useful document.

Certainly worth willj23 getting some help through the CAB or a legal aid solicitor.

Hopefully there will be additional expert input from this forum.

willj23
19-03-2006, 20:18 PM
After i left, i had pre-paid the rent until November and informed the Landlord in December that i was no longer living there.
As regards to the AST (My apologies, as im not 100% sure as to what an AST is) but there were two forms i signed, one with my personal details on which was sent to the landlord before the tenancy started (along with the guarentor contract) and the other was the contract i signed on the first date of the tenancy which displayed the inventory etc. which my guarentor was NOT present for.

The agreement involves all of the students, and all of the students are liable as letters regarding late payment of rent have been sent to all of the guarentors not just mine.
One of the tenants guarentors, i have been informed is threatening to take me to court in the event of rent being outstanding, im not sure what legal standing he has, as the contract is a joint contract?

Regarding a replacement tenant, as i said i found suitable replacements but the exisiting tenants refused to show them around, which i could do nothing about as i do not live near the house.
When this issue was discussed on the phone, the Landlord said it would not be straight forward to do and its up to him, (a matter he has since denied in writing).

I am ideally looking for a way of ending the contract early, i cannot pay the remainder of the agreed contract but may be able to get a smaller bank loan (i have already made offers to end the contract which have been rejected).

One issue that worries me is my father is the guarentor and he is responsible if i cannot pay, however my father had not recieved a copy of the gaurentor contract. I've read other articles on this forum, that say that guarentors must recieve a copy of the contract they signed, but my father has not. Does anyone know if this is true?

Thanks to all the people who have replied so far, its greatly appreciated.

pms
19-03-2006, 20:40 PM
Can anyone help me out with my situation?

Im a student, who in August 05 took out a year long tenancy agreement with 3 other people for a private let property complete (agreement included having a guarentor).
I moved in to the property at the end of September 05 but due to unforseen circumstances i changed universitys and moved out of the property after just 2 weeks of living there. (I left the property in the same condition it was in, when i moved in).

Since then, i have paid the monthly rent of £300 on the property.
Due to financial restraints i missed a few payments in December and January and as such was charged a £15 "admin" charge by the landlord who sent letters requesting payment. After a couple of weeks i was threatened with court action.

I have tried to resolve this issue, by finding suitable replacements to which i found a few people, but the existing tenants refused to show them around (i was unable to at short notice as i live 2 hours away).

I paid the rent up until Febuary, and now find myself in the situation where the landlord is asking for Febuary and March rent, and will soon be asking for April, but i simply cant afford to pay it!
I have wrote to the landlord twice, offering to end the contract by offering £800 (plus my original £300 desposit) which was rejected, to which i offered a improved offer of £1000 (plus the deposit of £300).

As the contract is for a year the last rent payment is July 06, which totals to a total of £1800. The last month is supposed to be covered by the £300 deposit which is equal to a months rent.

I am aware that i do have a contract, there are a few issues that i have:

-The Landlord has said that everytime he sends a letter to me (and the other tenants) a charge of £15 is incurred. He has specified this amounts over £100 in fees although i have only recieved 3 letters. The letters are always sent second class delivery with no proof of posting, so therefore i have no proof he posted them or that i recieved them.

-The Landlord insists that if i cant afford to pay, than my guarentor (my father) will have to. However, to date my father has not recieved a copy of the guarentor contract he signed in August 05.

Is there anything i can do here?
I have told the landlord my situation but he continues to bill me and charge me for the pleasure.
If anyone has any plans of action i might take it would be appreciated as im completely lost with it all!

Thanks for your time.
£15 for a letter is a bit steep but what do you expect from the private sector

MrShed
19-03-2006, 22:44 PM
Couple of brief thoughts:

- £15 per letter is fairly standard. That said I THINK they can only charge this if it is said in the AST(the AST is the long contract with all the obligations tenants/landlords have you signed at the beginning). But I await clarification. If they had to send more than one letter per late payment, this would bump up the cost.

- I certainly would not be paying them the last months rent. They can use your deposit for this. I would very rarely advise this, but in this case I think you would be justified....the landlord has made no efforts to mitigate their loss, and you can have caused no(or at least insignificant) damage to the property.

- Personally, I would probably stop paying now and let them sue for the difference. The courts are the place to decide what you owe, and I would be fairly surprised if the courts held you responsible for the entire rent, as they have not mitigated their damages. Similar if the other tenants(or guarantors) sue you....they have not allowed access to show new tenants round, and although they have a right to do this, I do not believe it would be looked at very favourably by the courts. However, as I'm sure other members will say, court outcomes depend on the judge at the time! Worst comes to worst, you would be held fully responsible for the rent, which is no worse than your current situation, plus small court costs of around £80 ish(I think). Worth the risk in my opinion.

willj23
21-03-2006, 16:03 PM
Thanks MrShed for the help.

However, this morning i recieved a letter letting me know that the landlord intends to start immediate proceedings through county court for recovery of the monies (totalling 2 months rent = £600).
They also state that under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 they are entitled to claim for interest on the monies outstanding and this will be added to the amount claim.

Obviously, as a student and my father as guarentor, this is not a good situation.

I was wondering in a situation like this, does the landlord start court proceedings now or wait until the end of the tenancy agreement?

The letter i recieved also states that the courts have further powers to grant an attachment of earnings order which will require my guarentors present employer to deduct any money due via payroll deductions.

If this last point is true, if i am taken to court before the end of the tenancy agreement will the court enforce all future rent payments to be deducted from my guarentors work pay?

Any advice or views would be appreciated. Thank you!

cris/c
21-03-2006, 18:14 PM
Hello,

What a mess. I'm confused, how many students and guarantors are there? I thought that you could only have one guarantor per AST agreement, so I'm not sure how the other guarantors could sue your father. Paul_f is probably the one to deal with this, he seems to have the knowledge regarding guarantor issues.

I am currently involved in a LL/tenant/guarantor dispute, and I am in the process of defending a claim being made against the guarantor. I have seen two different solicitors regarding this dispute. The second solicitor I consulted, has been a revelation, he actually knows tenant LL law and he is also clued up regarding rent guarantors. You would, or perhaps not be suprised to know that LL's on this site know more than most solicitors who are supposed to be experts in the field.

Point 1. to check out before going into the legal procedure of how the guarantee was signed, is the wording of the document. This is very important, the legal obligations of the guarantor should be clearly laid out, with no ambiguity. If you don't have a copy of the guarantee, then write and ask the LL to provide your father, the guarantor, with a copy, while reminding him that you did not receive a copy at the outset of the tenancy. Do this by recorded mail.

Point 2. While the LL should not have retained the guarantee, I was advised that the guarantor should have asked for a copy. Not for nothing do solicitors call guarantors 'fools with pens'. However, the law goes someway to protect people from themselves, the LL should have provided the guarantor/guarantors with copies of both the tenancy agreement (the AST) and the guarantee, idealy sometime before signing, but certainly at the time of signing, so that they know exactly what they are guaranteeing.

Point 3. It seems to me that you made a very fair offer to the LL regarding your rent for the remainder of the agreement, did you do this in writing?

You may have to consult a solicitor, it could be cheaper in the long run. If you do, make certain that they are fully conversant with LL/tenant law, and in particular with guarantees. I made a deal with our solicitor, I had a half hour free, and then I paid him a nominal fee to look through all agreements, rent guarantee and letters between guarantor/LL and although he has only confirmed what I had researched myself regarding the non validity of the guarantee document, it was good to have opinion backed up by an expert.

Good luck, it is highly probable that there is something amiss regarding the guarantor/guarantors involvement and obligation regarding this tenancy. Senior members on this forum can point you in the right direction, but ultimately, without seeing the documents and exact wording, it maybe difficult to give you difinitive advice.

cris/c
21-03-2006, 18:14 PM
Hello,

What a mess. I'm confused, how many students and guarantors are there? I thought that you could only have one guarantor per AST agreement, so I'm not sure how the other guarantors could sue your father. Paul_f is probably the one to deal with this, he seems to have the knowledge regarding guarantor issues.

I am currently involved in a LL/tenant/guarantor dispute, and I am in the process of defending a claim being made against the guarantor. I have seen two different solicitors regarding this dispute. The second solicitor I consulted, has been a revelation, he actually knows tenant LL law and he is also clued up regarding rent guarantors. You would, or perhaps not be suprised to know that LL's on this site know more than most solicitors who are supposed to be experts in the field.

Point 1. to check out before going into the legal procedure of how the guarantee was signed, is the wording of the document. This is very important, the legal obligations of the guarantor should be clearly laid out, with no ambiguity. If you don't have a copy of the guarantee, then write and ask the LL to provide your father, the guarantor, with a copy, while reminding him that you did not receive a copy at the outset of the tenancy. Do this by recorded mail.

Point 2. While the LL should not have retained the guarantee, I was advised that the guarantor should have asked for a copy. Not for nothing do solicitors call guarantors 'fools with pens'. However, the law goes someway to protect people from themselves, the LL should have provided the guarantor/guarantors with copies of both the tenancy agreement (the AST) and the guarantee, idealy sometime before signing, but certainly at the time of signing, so that they know exactly what they are guaranteeing.

Point 3. It seems to me that you made a very fair offer to the LL regarding your rent for the remainder of the agreement, did you do this in writing?

You may have to consult a solicitor, it could be cheaper in the long run. If you do, make certain that they are fully conversant with LL/tenant law, and in particular with guarantees. I made a deal with our solicitor, I had a half hour free, and then I paid him a nominal fee to look through all agreements, rent guarantee and letters between guarantor/LL and although he has only confirmed what I had researched myself regarding the non validity of the guarantee document, it was good to have opinion backed up by an expert.

Good luck, it is highly probable that there is something amiss regarding the guarantor/guarantors involvement and obligation regarding this tenancy. Senior members on this forum can point you in the right direction, but ultimately, without seeing the documents and exact wording, it maybe difficult to give you difinitive advice.

MrShed
21-03-2006, 22:20 PM
I would not worry about the interest, over this period of time it can only be a nominal amount. IMO I would still let it go to court, as your attempts to settle the matter, and the lack of attempting to mitigate their losses will both work in your favour. Worst case scenario: you are told you must pay the rent you would have had to anyway, plus small court costs and interest....would doubt the total of these would be more than £100. However, I can understand why you would be concerned, and I would await further clarification from other senior members. Remember it may all be a bluff! As far as cris c's comment goes regarding getting a solicitor, it is always advisable, but not always feasible. It may be worth emailing PainSmith(who advertise on here somewhere) as they will give some free advice over email.