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  • FIRST POST
    • seekingdroadvice
    • By seekingdroadvice 12th Mar 17, 6:27 PM
    • 3Posts
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    seekingdroadvice
    Need advice regarding AST and guarantor
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 17, 6:27 PM
    Need advice regarding AST and guarantor 12th Mar 17 at 6:27 PM
    Hi all.

    I was successful last week in obtaining a dro for 17k of credit card, overdraft and rent arrears (assured shorthold tenancy) debt. I was helped by citizens advice.
    The circumstances that led up to this point were in brief mental health difficulties at university that led to withdrawal from my course and moving out of an AST early to be home with the support of my parents.

    The AST was due to last for 12 months, ending on 30 June 2017, I moved out in mid December already significantly in arrears. I was unable to find a replacement tenant and the letting agency and other tenants (four) made no effort to help. Now that my DRO has been passed the letting agency are using bully boy tactics on my former housemates in an attempt to make them pay my arrears. I had to complete a guarantor form prior to entering into the tenancy so do not understand why they have not contacted my father directly and are using this approach.

    I did not wish my former housemates to be put in this position and want to do everything I can to resolve it without compromising my DRO. The letting agency have behaved quite erratically and failed to provide a copy of my guarantor form to date, this leads me to suspect that something is not right about how they are renting the property which would explain why they are chasing the other tenants in preference of my guarantor.

    It would be massively helpful if somebody could explain whether:
    A: My guarantor is still liable despite the DRO.
    B: This is normal behavior from the letting agency.
    C: If my father is guarantor can he pay the balance of arrears or negotiate a settlement with the landlord without compromising my DRO.

    I am distressed to have put my former housemates in this position and hope there is something I can do to help.

    Many thanks for any help.
Page 1
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 12th Mar 17, 7:34 PM
    • 36,042 Posts
    • 152,232 Thanks
    silvercar
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 17, 7:34 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 17, 7:34 PM
    Quite often the guarantor form has not been completed correctly - at least enough to be valid in court. It needs to have been witnessed and executed as a deed and the guarantor has to have had sight of the tenancy agreement in advance.

    Separately, you and your housemates were probably joint tenants ie you were all jointly liable for all the rent, so logically they are the first place a landlord would look if the rent hasn't been paid in full. It is unfortunate that your housemates didn't make an effort to replace you.
    • ToxtethO'Grady
    • By ToxtethO'Grady 13th Mar 17, 1:08 AM
    • 79 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    ToxtethO'Grady
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 17, 1:08 AM
    Effect on DRO
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 17, 1:08 AM
    Silvercar is right and just to make you aware your DRO won't be affected if the letting agency get the money from your joint tenants or your father as the guarantor. The DRO removed your liability from the rent arrears
    • seekingdroadvice
    • By seekingdroadvice 15th Mar 17, 8:16 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    seekingdroadvice
    • #4
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:16 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:16 PM
    Thank you for the replies so far.

    I have read over the contract and although it is definitely a joint tenancy in the sense that we all signed the same document, at no point does it use the expression 'jointly and severally liable'

    This leads me to believe that the letting agency has no legal grounds for pursuing the remaining tenants for my rent arrears, can anyone confirm if this is true?

    I also investigated your advice regarding the guarantor-ship and found that the document signed and witnessed was only a guarantor application form which stated nowhere on it that it was 'a deed'. The guarantors were also not provided with a copy of the contract prior to signing the form. This leads me to believe as you say that it is not valid and the letting agency cannot pursue the 'guarantors' for my arrears.

    The letting agency are being very aggressive now in pursuing my former housemates and threatening to bring in a solicitor, the fees of which they will supposedly charge to the tenants. Can they do this and demand instant payment in this way or is this an attempt to bully them into submission and get them to pay a debt they are not truly liable for?
    • mwarby
    • By mwarby 15th Mar 17, 9:57 PM
    • 804 Posts
    • 301 Thanks
    mwarby
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 9:57 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 9:57 PM
    A bit difficult to tell without seeing the contract. Do you know how much he shortfall is ?

    The letting agency though will be focusing their efforts on those they think are more likely to pay, some threatening letters and phone calls are cheapest way to recover debt. A solicitor would probably start with threatening letters too, how far they'll take it probably comes down to the amount owed and who pays the bill if you don't play ball
    • seekingdroadvice
    • By seekingdroadvice 16th Mar 17, 2:10 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    seekingdroadvice
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 2:10 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 2:10 PM
    The rent arrears amount to £1950 which will increase to £2925 in April if no tenant is found. I can upload a copy of the contract this evening if that would be helpful?
    • mwarby
    • By mwarby 16th Mar 17, 5:31 PM
    • 804 Posts
    • 301 Thanks
    mwarby
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 17, 5:31 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 17, 5:31 PM
    Have I got this right £975 a month arrears for a shared house, that seems pretty high rent

    I'm no lawyer, and I doubt anyone can give legal advice, but someone maybe able to comment on it. Id make sure to obscure personal info though
    • ToxtethO'Grady
    • By ToxtethO'Grady 21st Mar 17, 10:31 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    ToxtethO'Grady
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 17, 10:31 PM
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 17, 10:31 PM
    Speak to Shelter about the tenancy agreement however it isn't a credit agreement so doesn't need joint and severally liable included in the agreement. The full rent should be shown and everyone who signed the agreement is liable individually and jointly for that full amount.

    Rent arrears are treated differently and even though your liability has been removed the other tenants can be evicted if there are outstanding arrears of 2 months or 8 weeks. It depends on the payment frequency stipulated in the tenancy agreement. The other thing that could happen is the letting agents could end the tenancy under section 21 - giving 2 months notice under the terms of the agreement.

    If they wish to fight this they will need a housing solicitor or adviser and Shelter can point them in the right direction.
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