Being a Guarantor

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hi in this film we're going to talk

about what it means to be a guarantor

people often agree to act as a guarantor

to enable a relative or friend to rent a

home if you're thinking of doing this

that's very kind and it could be that

you sign up as a guarantor and then

never hear from the landlord again but

sometimes however things do go wrong and

the person you're helping may not be

able to pay their rent or meet another

tenancy obligation in this case

guarantor is sometimes surprised to find

that a landlord can ask them to be and

even take court action against them if

they don't it's important to know that

being a guarantor is a big

responsibility and there are real risks

attached so you need to think about the

person asking you to be their guarantor

and their Co tenants can you rely on

them so what is guarantor responsible

for your legal responsibility will

depend on the exact wording of the

guarantee this might be written out in a

separate agreement or included in the

tenancy agreement itself here's some

things to look out for read the

guarantee carefully to make sure you

understand exactly what you're signing

up to if there's very little information

about what you are responsible for you

should ask the landlord or their agent

to provide you with more information if

you're guaranteeing more than just the

rent payment you need to read the

tenancy agreement as well and if there's

anything any other document that you

don't understand

you should get independent legal advice

you can find out places to get legal

advice at the end of this video the main

thing is you're potentially responsible

for any rent they can't pay the cost of

putting right any damage and any of the

cost covered in the tenancy agreement

and crucially if the tenant you're

guaranteeing is sharing the tenancy you

could be responsible for any damage or

unpaid rent caused by the other tenants

not just the one you're wanting to help

so when do you start being legally

responsible the guarantee agreement

should identify the point where your

legal responsibility starts if the other

tenants also have guarantors make sure

the guarantee makes it clear that you'll

only become responsible when

all the co guarantors have signed up

otherwise if you're the first to sign up

and the others don't you could be

responsible for everything all on your

own be aware though that even if there

are the guarantors you may not be

completely covered and landlord doesn't

have to take action against all

guarantors but can choose to pursue just

the one that's most likely to pay up so

even if there are other guarantors you

may find yourself liable for the full

amount of any debt when does your legal

responsibility end again this should be

written in the guarantee you may for

example be responsible for however long

the tenancy lasts including any rent

increases so for example if the tenant

fails to pay the last month's rent

you're responsible for that and for six

years after they break the agreement

court proceedings could be taken against

you if you don't cover it some other

things worth knowing

unless the guarantee provisions say

otherwise you carry on being liable even

if you fall ill or lose your job if the

tenant is declared bankrupt the extent

of your liability will depend on the

wording in the guarantee if you are

declared bankrupt then the landlord may

be a creditor in the bankruptcy for

anything you owe and if you die they

might be able to claim against your

estate so can you ask for changes to the

guarantee if something in the guarantee

seems unfair to you you or the tenant

could ask the landlord to agree to a

change before you sign it for example

you may want to include a set period of

time within which the guarantee is

enforced for or you might want to say

that you're only liable for any debt

owed divided by the number of tenants so

you're only responsible for a proportion

of any debt however many landlords

aren't willing to limit a guarantors

liability so they may not agree but it's

probably worth asking and that's it

obviously a lot of what we've talked

about has been quite negative of course

it's entirely possible that you won't

have any problems at all

but like any legal agreement it's always

worth thinking things through carefully

thanks and good luck you may have free

advice as part of your home or car

insurance or as part of trade union

membership you could also go to your

local advice center or law Center

see advise now help directory for more

information about where to go for legal