Thursday, 1 March 2012

Legal Tip for Parents whose Kids are at Uni

Most students at university share houses at some point. More often than not landlords want the rent and other covenants in the tenancy agreement guaranteed by parents. I was asked to sign a guarantee recently for my son’s accommodation. I was wary, partly because I had a case a few years back where a parent client was held to a guarantee to the tune of several thousand pounds when one of the other student sharers, not their son, had not paid then rent and worse still, that student sharer’s parent didn’t honour the guarantee either. It is one thing being held to account for your own son’s default, quite another to be held to account for a stranger’s. But that is exactly the form of guarantee I was myself being asked to sign for my own son’s new accommodation. So I decided to politely refuse unless the agent amended the guarantee to cover only my son’s portion of the rent, suggesting that the landlord could do likewise with the other 3 parents and would still have 100% of rent guaranteed. Lo and behold the agent straight away came up with another standard form of guarantee just in the form I requested. So maybe the landlord had been chancing his arm all along. Anyway, the story shows it pays to hold out sometimes when it comes to any ‘standard’ legal documents which are presented to you. You don’t have to be a lawyer to do that, although you may want to take legal advice.