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View Full Version : Future tenant looking for some advice about guarantor process



St Marco
04-10-2009, 20:26 PM
Hi there hope your all doing well? This will be a loooong post so be warned! If you got stuff to do probably best to miss this one :)

I know this is a forum for landlords and not tenants but I thought this would probably be the best people to ask for some advice. After all a lot of you will have a lot of experience with letting.

First let me give a bit of a background so you can understand my problem.

I sadly suffer from Agoraphobia as well as general anxiety disorder. I have been receiving treatment for this condition for nearly 3 years now. Basically long story short it means I suffer from severe panic attacks when I go outside on my own.
Before I became unwell I was at a good college on a good course and got a distinction at GNVQ Advanced media studies. From there I went onto the best uni in europe for film and learnt to be a film writer. Unfortunately while I was there my condition started to worsen and I had to leave. Returning to my family home. I withdrew into my shell and became severely depressed.
After a few years I met someone. She in a way helped to re-build my confidence and seek the help I obviously needed.
Things started to get better for me. I could start to do things I could not for many years like just being outside. I worked harder and harder with my recovery never shying away from what I had to do. If my therapist asked me to do something I would.

After a year now of progress things have become a bit slower in terms of recovery.
The home I live in is a 3 bedroom house. In this house are 7 people. My mother, step father, step sister, step brother, my full sister and my nephew. As you can imagine it is crowded. While my family are not angels they are decent people and obviously I care for them. However they are all different and the lack of space means we clash. Due to my illness I obviously cannot work and spend most days at home all day. Sadly that is the cost of having Agoraphobia.
So on medical advice I was advised to think about moving out. Now to an Agoraphobic who is used to your little safe zone that is not a nice thought. Change is scary. But it is the right advice. Being away from the maddening crowds can help with my condition. It could potentially push me on into the full recovery stage. And because that is what I want so badly I am prepared to try anything.

After being on the housing list nothing was coming available that would be useful to me. So I was advised to look into renting privately. I was assured that because I am on Income Support I will be accepted for housing benefits. Obviously due to my condition I cannot work so have to rely on benefits. But this is why I want to get better, or at least to a point where I can work and not have to live on hand outs.

Because of my situation I have no money. I am told that I can be helped with the rent but not with gaining the money needed for the deposit and initial fees. I would have to find this myself. This would become a huge problem. My family are not rich so I could not ask them. My friends have their own problems and commitments so would be wrong to ask them. Because of not being able to work I could not get a loan etc etc.
I had tried speaking to various organisations about trying to get help from them in ways of a loan or a grant but was declined.
So I saved up for sometime as best I could, made sacrifices. Sold things which I could sell of mine that would help. After a point I managed to save around £800. This to most people is not a lot of money. But to me it might as well be a million pounds.

I found somewhere I was interested in and looked around and it seemed great. The estate agents told me about how much I would pay and so on and that housing benefit would be fine. But then they asked for a guarantor.....
This was the first I had heard of this. Now I understand to most people this would be easy but for me this was a massive brick wall.
I do not have a huge family, and my step father was made redundant only a week or so prior to this point after working for about 20 years in the same industry. My only other family are my grand parents but they are not the type of people to help anyone even though they are very rich. You know the type, drink wine and eat takeaways every night but when it comes to helping someone, even their own flesh and blood they all of a sudden become very poor....

I put my step father as the guarantor and hoped for the best. About 24 hours later I got a call from the estate agent saying it had been rejected and I had to find someone else. It was rejected due to having a not so good credit report. We paid to see the report on Experian and we noticed a black mark on there. Turns out this was to do with a conflict with an electrical company called Utilita. They had this company install the electricity thing into their house but it would never work. After weeks of errors they complained and it was ignored. They were advised to terminate the contract due to poor service and then the electricity box was replaced by a different company. So basically Utilita said they had defaulted even though they had not. Queue legal wrangling, which eventually were resolved. However this black mark means he cannot be my guarantor.

I was totally devastated as I was trying so hard to take control of everything myself that it seemed that through no fault of my own I would not be able to move. Thankfully the estate agents paid me back and I apologised and they gave the house to someone else.

6 months later and here we are. In this time my girlfriend has started a new job. After much discussion she has agreed to potentially act as my guarantor.
So again I look for a flat, finally finding one which would be perfect for me. Very quiet and ideal for my medical condition. I ring the council 3 times just trying to make sure that they confirm I am entitled to HB and that I am entitled to as much as they say. Because if I got a place and they did not give as much as they initially said then I would have to make up the deficit. And when your on benefits that is obviously hard to do. So they confirm I am entitled to it and I can receive £650 a month. The place I am looking at is £600.
I have a look around the house and it is great, I say to the estate agent I will talk it over with my partner and will get back to you. I should mention that it will be just me living there, me and my partner live apart due to location of her job and my home, it is too far to commute every day etc.. So 5 nights a week I will be on my own, she will remain living where she is.

And this is where I need some help and why I have come to this forum.
My girlfriend as mentioned has just started a new job. This job is quite well paid and is stable. She should be there for a very long-time.

She has saved up a bit of cash but this cash is going on a new car that is on order. It should get here around November. When it arrives she will have little savings left and have to start again. Thankfully she is very good at saving and good with money in general. Through her help and advice I managed to save the money I had.

So she wants to be my guarantor but naturally is a little worried about certain things. It is a new experience for us both and it is all a bit complex. She is worried that after I sign the tenant form and send it with the housing benefit application it could be rejected. Even though multiple people have confirmed that because I’m on income support and medically been advised to move that it shouldn’t be rejected.
She thinks that if that happens then she will have to pay for the rest of the 6 months on the contract because obviously I would not be able to do that.

I have done everything I think I can to check to make sure I am entitled to it and that they will pay as much as they say. But I do not want her to be in a position that could cause this to happen. I am a very responsible person. I do not drink, don’t smoke, don’t have kids, no pets etc. Never miss payments for anything at all. I treat people as I would expect to be treated myself and this means that if the government screw up and don’t pay I will have let the landlord and my partner down and this is something I want to avoid.

So is there any advice you could give me in terms of how I could go about making sure that does not happen. I heard something about an insurance organisation that will pay the landlord if a payment can’t be paid? Is this true? I want to have all bases covered because this will be my first house and I really don’t want to let anyone down.

Sorry this is very long and more like my life story then a simple question but I figured would be better to tell you guy’s how it is then you would understand the situation and be in a better place to advise me.

So I would appreciate any help advice you can offer

Kind regards
Marcus

tom999
04-10-2009, 21:08 PM
I know this is a forum for landlords and not tenants but I thought this would probably be the best people to ask for some advice.No, tenants are very welcome - there are no barriers.


My girlfriend as mentioned has just started a new job. This job is quite well paid and is stable....
So she wants to be my guarantor but naturally is a little worried about certain things...
She is worried that after I sign the tenant form* and send it with the housing benefit application it could be rejected. Even though multiple people have confirmed that because I’m on income support and medically been advised to move that it shouldn’t be rejected.
Do you mean AST* (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) agreement - your contract with the landlord?


She thinks that if that happens then she will have to pay for the rest of the 6 months on the contract because obviously I would not be able to do that.If a valid AST is signed then the tenant will be liable for rent for the fixed term of the contract. An acceptable alternative (to an AST) for an LHA application is to get a letter signed by the landlord, stating that tenancy is accepted on the basis that LHA application is approved.

St Marco
04-10-2009, 22:44 PM
Hi Tom thanks for your reply.

I mean the tenancy agreement. As far as i have been told i have to have a tenancy agreement. After i have that then i must send a copy of that with my application for housing benefit. So basically i have to have already agreed to the contract and signed it before i even have the actual confirmation that the council will pay it. If that makes sense?

So i think what she is scared of is that after the contract has been signed the housing benefit could be rejected and then we would be locked into a 6 month contract. And she would then have to foot the bill due to being my guarantor. The contract will be for 6 months so i think as you say it is a AST.

tom999
05-10-2009, 07:24 AM
It's understandable that you don't wish to be tied into a contract, before confirming that you can get regular HB payments to cover rent.

Some local authorities will insist on an a original tenancy agreement, but legally this is not required (many HB officers do not know Housing Law).

However, the following are suitable alternatives: fully completed rent book, detailed rent receipts or a signed letter from landlord. The alternative should include the following 'proof of rent'*: names/addresses of landlord, tenant, property; rent payable; rent payment frequency; arrears; signature of the landlord (or agent).

As your main objective is for a successful HB claim, I would suggest that you comply with any reasonable request for information from the council, but to question the need for an AST, and ask about whether an alternative, such as a letter with suitable info. would be sufficient proof*.

jta
05-10-2009, 08:46 AM
It might also be the case that the LA would provide your deposit (bond) since you are registered disabled. Have you applied for that?

St Marco
10-10-2009, 13:49 PM
Hi guys thank you for your replies! Sorry with the late reply but have had no time!

I have succesfully negotiated with the landlord to take the house and we agreed that he can only go after my guarantor if all avenues have been exhausted between us. I think he realises that i am responsible enough as we had a meeting and it went very well. Was 100% honest with him and explained the situation and he fully understood.

So i have spoke to the council and have got them to write me a letter which confirms i am able to get the housing benefit. Which means if they mess up they will be the ones in trouble not me. I doubt they will mess up but it is best i cover all bases. I will also have an insurance scheme running alongside it which means if they do fail with a payment the landlord will still get paid. Which i think for £120 a year is worth while, better to be prepared and not need it then not prepared and then need it!

Thanks for all your advice it has been very helpful to me :)

Michael Clayton
12-10-2009, 10:17 AM
I hope that all goes well for you and that you receive payments of HB to help you on your way to recoverty.

It is most unusual for a local authority to provide a decision without you having completed an application (with information and evidence included). I would be most interested to know exactly what has been written.