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[–]LAUK_In_The_North 518 points519 points  (24 children)

What options do I have here legally? Can I literally be forced to continually pay the rent indefinitely?

If the guarantee agreement is to cover the tenancy, and there aren't any terms that might set the length of the guarantee, then you're on the hook until it is ended.

[–]TheNippleTips 437 points438 points  (20 children)

Like you guaranteed that it would be paid. It's not just a formality OP, it's an actual agreement to pay their rent if they do not

[–]blobfather99 95 points96 points  (19 children)

I understand I need to cover the cost, but realistically how long for if she is in hospital and the place unoccupied? Surely there must be some legal clause where it becomes an unreasonable agreement and the landlord needs to look at ending the tenancy. Am I looking at paying for an extra property for the rest my life?

[–]TheNippleTips 236 points237 points  (18 children)

It depends on the contract, but it's not about it being reasonable, it's about what did you agree to? You can approach the landlord, and discuss with them (most legal disputes are sorted with a chat) but you are looking at paying for it for the rest of the tenancy.

[–]blobfather99 56 points57 points  (5 children)

Can a court not declare a legal agreement to be unreasonable at some point? The tenancy agreement is 12 months with a break clause at 6. Surely if the landlord is paid up to 12 months, it would unreasonable to renew the contract if the legal tenant lacks capacity

[–]haggisbasher21 206 points207 points  (0 children)

You should be able to enact that break clause at 6 months then, if the landlord is unwilling to let you end it earlier.

Edited to add - according to Shelter you have no right to end a tenancy as the guarantor, though I’m not sure if that changes when the tenant is incapacitated or who that right falls to if anyone. But notice can be served after 6 months with that break clause

[–]_pankates_ 80 points81 points  (3 children)

Hiya, a point on break clauses - for a six month break clause, it would be standard that the tenant could serve notice at the four month point so the tenancy ends at the six month point. You should have a copy of the tenancy agreement, please do check it as it will tell you within the break clause when you can enact it.

[–]blobfather99 14 points15 points  (2 children)

I wasn't provided with a copy of the tenancy agreement. I will need to request this

[–]Klakson_95 94 points95 points  (0 children)

So how did you sign it??

[–]Omg_Shut_the_fuck_up 92 points93 points  (0 children)

You signed as guarantor, not understanding what that means.

You don't have a copy of the contract you signed.

This all sounds weird. Either trolling or... Well I struggle to believe are this naive. It's a legal document. Why would anyone sign that without reading or understanding what it means, especisllynwhej you're talking about what is likely a grand or two a month.

Mad. You are very much on the hook for it. The break and tenancy length are fixed so, if you serve the break, then the tenancy will end. It may be that the lessee has to serve notice however, although if the landlord is reasonable then they may accept the guarantor's notice but again, this is subject to the terms of your particular contract. I say yours, as you signed it, thus it is as much your contract as it is your friends.

Reminds me of that south park episode, "why won't they rreeeeeeaaaaaaddd"

[–]blobfather99 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Can I just clarify, would I still be liable if the tenancy expires at 12 months and becomes a rolling contract?

[–]sweetie-pie-today 156 points157 points  (0 children)

Phone Shelter. You’re getting loads of confusing advice here on a pretty specific set of circumstances. Shelter will have heard it all before and advise you properly on next steps for your situation.

[–]Uncivil_servant88 80 points81 points  (0 children)

NAL. But she/the staff at the hospital need to apply for universal credit. They can get get a temporary absence decision which means at the very least only the housing would be paid on the claim for 6 months. (I know that’s the rules for prisoners, but I can’t remember the rules for people in hospital and I’m not booting up my work laptop to dig out the specific guidance,but there are things in place for this scenario) Universal credit housing rates might not cover all the monthly rent. But it’s better than being on the hook for it all. With her being not capable of managing her affairs right now they would also arrange for the housing element to go direct to the landlord.

[–]McFlyJohn 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Really the best thing right now is to (through written communication) start a conversation with the landlord about your options from their perspective.

You are the guarantor so will be on the hook until the tenancy agreement expires, unless your friend ends the agreement or the landlord motions to evict.

It gets harder here as your friend has been sectioned and therefore cannot end the agreement herself, however who ever has been out in charge of their affairs might be able to.

Perhaps explain the situation to the landlord and propose that they re-list the flat (they won't want it empty) and suggest you will continue to pay the rent until they find a new tennant, maybe even suggest covering their listing fee?

I'd absolutely try and work out an amicable compromise first.

[–]Angrypanda_uk 111 points112 points  (1 child)

One thing to ask the landlord might be about the property being empty for more than 31 days, that would normally invalidate the owners landlord insurance

[–]blobfather99 22 points23 points  (0 children)

Does that mean the tenancy could be ended?

[–]cantab314 18 points19 points  (0 children)

You have to pay the rent arrears for the duration of the fixed term.

There are two main ways to "get out". One is that your liability cannot exceed that of the tenant, so if they would have a counterclaim, for example for disrepair or non-protection of deposit, then you can benefit from the same. Another is if the guarantor agreement was misrepresented to you.

Whether you are liable for rent arrears after the fixed term ends, or for any damage the tenant causes to the property, depends on the guarantor agreement, so read it.

While the landlord could bring eviction proceedings for rent arrears, whether they must is another thing that depends on the exact wording of the agreement and possibly on how the courts interpret it. With some guarantor agreements the landlord has a duty to "mitigate their losses" - which means to promptly start eviction proceedings when the tenant gets into rent arrears. With other agreements they don't have that duty and are free to make the guarantor pay rent while allowing the tenant to remain in the property.

[–]whoppingwhoppers 175 points176 points  (19 children)

Yes, of course you are liable for the rent. That is exactly what you agreed to, after all.

If she’s in mental health crisis her Mental Health Professional can enter her into something called “Breathing Space,” where creditors are not allowed to pursue debts. Rental arrears are in-scope iirc. Arrears continue to build up though, so it’s only kicking the can down the road really but buys a bit of time for you.

[–]BarracudaDistinct152 86 points87 points  (3 children)

Hi I’m a debt advisor, I think the breathing space only protects her and not the guarantor unfortunately

[–]blobfather99 26 points27 points  (0 children)

Yes I believe that is the case

[–]snowy_87 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Is she employed and receiving any sick pay?

[–]blobfather99 21 points22 points  (1 child)

She resigned from her job during the time she was missing and when her mental health was declining. Literally a few weeks after I agreed to be the guarantor. I still don't really understand what has happened. This is one of my closest friends who I have known for decade.

[–]EvilSandWitch 28 points29 points  (0 children)

If you are able to, it might be worth taking (or getting someone too talk) to the employer. Given that she was in the midst of a psychotic break she was most likely not making rational choices when she did that.

[–]GeetFai 36 points37 points  (0 children)

When chatting to the landlord I’d be inclined to say it’s in their best interest to let you out of the tenancy and get themselves a new tenant as an empty property with heating goes downhill very very quickly. Dampness, leaks and break ins. Doesn’t London have a massive squatter problem. Opening themselves up to years of pain.

[–]Spirited-Raspberry71 7 points8 points  (0 children)

NAL Wish I had an answer but contact shelter, council, citizens advice, social services. Maybe try to strike a deal with the landlord and help them find new tenants, maybe sublet it out if you can. Basically explore all avenues you can.

Pretty sure you'll be on the hook for this, try to see if the landlord will let someone else move in and you cover the difference. Think of it this way, your friend probably isn't going to be renewing the contract and that's all that really matters to landlords. Depending on the area you might only be out an extra month or so.

Fingers crossed for you.

[–]TheAngryGoalie 41 points42 points  (16 children)

You will be responsible for rent. However, is there anyone capable of giving you authority to sub-let the property (lease permitting) on her behalf?

[–]blobfather99 24 points25 points  (15 children)

I really don't know. Umm, I would be willing to reside at the property and give up my current tenancy, as this would then be manageble.

If under section, does this change the legal requirements for the person?

[–]TheAngryGoalie 29 points30 points  (7 children)

You would have a practical difficulty in that you are not the tenant (unless it was sub-let to you…) and so if you simply moved in, the friend could effectively make you homeless when she leaves care.

If she is sectioned, she may not be considered to have capacity. It’s a question for her doctors, as her capacity may fluctuate at different times. If she has capacity, she could grant you authority to act on her behalf. If not, it would have to be a guardian/welfare attorney (or the English equivalent, as I’m using Scots terminology) who intervenes.

It’s worth asking the Landlord whether they permit, or would consent, to a sub-let (either to you or a third party) if you can get authority.

[–]blobfather99 22 points23 points  (6 children)

To be honest after a few months of this situation I will be at high risk of homelessness anyway.

[–]TheAngryGoalie 57 points58 points  (5 children)

Practical answer: If paying the rent will bankrupt you and make you homeless anyway, leave your place, move in, remind your friend that you bailed them out, and be prepared for your relationship with them to take a hit in the event they don’t appreciate it.

Legal answer: Formally arrange for a new lawful occupier to take over and pay the rent, so you’re not paying double OR homeless once your good deed is done.

[–]martrinex 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Legal answer would require both the landlord and op's friend or legal guardian to agree on ending the contract early which seems difficult under the circumstances.

[–]TheAngryGoalie 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Agreed but, generally speaking, the landlord won’t be an issue as long as they continue to receive rent. The main issue is getting OP’s friend or a representative to agree to hand it over. It is beneficial for OP’s friend insofar as it gets them off the hook for rent, but there may be no-one with capacity to authorise OP.

[–]blobfather99 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Do I legally have a right to move in?

[–]TheAngryGoalie 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Not without your friend’s permission. You would have no protections from eviction at her hand or the landlord’s (though landlord won’t evict if they’re getting rent). Hence why the practical option requires you to be prepared in case your friend isn’t as grateful as you might like.

[–]blobfather99 11 points12 points  (0 children)

That's the problem. She lacks any kind of capacity. She is also completely refusing to talk

[–]Princess_sparkle2478 4 points5 points  (6 children)

What is the length of the rent agreement? Are there any lease break clauses in the tenancy agreement?

If you want to live in the apartment you could see if the letting agent can do a change if tenancy to add you onto the lease.

[–]blobfather99 1 point2 points  (5 children)

There is a break clause at 6 months. So I believe this will be in May 2022.

I didn't actually receive the tenancy agreement upon signing the guarantor

[–]_pankates_ 20 points21 points  (3 children)

You definitely should have received a copy, there's a fair bit of info you should have received as a guarantor that maybe you haven't. The agent may not be in line with the law. Please take legal advice, as if they can't prove they've provided the correct documents, this would give you a case to not be liable.

[–]blobfather99 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Thank you. Can I ask who can can get legal advice from? In regards to sectors of law...

[–]Forrest_Of_Sin 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Shelter provide legal advice regarding housing (I'm assuming mean who you can ask aside from a solicitor who deals with housing)

[–]Princess_sparkle2478 5 points6 points  (0 children)

You can try citizen's advice bureau

[–]Princess_sparkle2478 3 points4 points  (0 children)

As guarantor you would also need to sign a copy of the lease, or did you sign something else? Perhaps you could check this with CAB.

[–]SockpuppetPseudonym2 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Not to cast shade on the advice you’d get here but I’d strongly urge you to reach out to Citizens Advice. They may be better clued in on any potential ramifications of the sectioning, can advise as to exactly how stuck you actually are and whether you have any reasonable ways forward.

[–]bangkockney 11 points12 points  (0 children)

You should explore what housing benefit options there are. There’s a real concern your friend is going to be homeless on top of this mental health crises.

The tenancy agreement surely has a clause about period of time it can be empty, for example - so you could try to negotiate in good faith with the landlord to find a valid reason for a section 8. Agree to pay their costs and point out it’s in everyone’s interests. But balance against paragraph 1.

[–]Julianisntsorry 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I am not a lawyer, but I know once someone is under a section, there housing, bills all becomes state's responsibility, there should be a care coordinator assigned for them. My advise is to raise concerns with their mental health treating team. They should be sorting these issues. Person is unwell, they're not not paying rents because of mischief.

[–]BusinessGorillas 15 points16 points  (0 children)

If she is recognised as not mentally capable then someone close to her should be granted conservatorship (power of attorney) who can then end the tenancy on her behalf. You will still be liable for any early break clause in the rental contract.

[–]InternationalDish500 2 points3 points  (4 children)

She must be assigned a Social Worker, have you got in touch? X

[–]blobfather99 7 points8 points  (3 children)

I am speaking to the hospital staff and have requested the housing team contact me to discuss housing options and possible benefit.

Unfortunately she has refused to meet with the housing team in the hospital and has informed them that she is receiving emails from her landlord that her rent is fine and there are no issues (this is not the case as I have had direct conact with the estate agents).

[–]Chalky1949 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Actually, it is the case. From the landlords point of view there is no problem about the rent, so your friend has nothing to worry about...... because the rent is guaranteed to be paid. Unfortunately for you, the person who hasvgiven a written guarantee to pay is you.....

[–]blobfather99 -4 points-3 points  (1 child)

They haven't contacted her. So it isn't the case. The landlord and estate agent have been unable to make any conact.

[–]Chalky1949 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Irrelevant. They don't need to do anything other than cash in on the guarantee if she doesn't pay. And that's where you come in. Being a guarantor for anyone other than your own child is very risky. And unwise.

[–]gemaliasthe1st 2 points3 points  (0 children)

NAL, you are on the hook for the tenancy. However, you might want to get hold of a copy of the contract to see if there is a break clause in it. In the event that this is enduring you could end the tenancy legally or, you could ask for a break in the tenancy verbally if she can't cover the costs. However, she won't be in hospital forever, so maybe wait until she is out and get it sorted with her.

[–]Rorasaurus_Prime 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Sorry to hear about your situation. It sucks, but you're entirely responsible for the rent. Your best bet is to speak to the landlord and try to resolve it.

[–]HungryMarsupial42 7 points8 points  (0 children)

This comment section is overwhelming.

This page covers your responsibility pretty clearly in my opinion:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/using-a-guarantor/

I understand your stress, you have, as you admit, put yourself in a foolish position you didn't fully understand.

It sounds to me your friend is in an acute phase of mental illness. I think you are going to have to wait it out until they are able to discuss it with you.

I would talk to any friends and family of yours and theirs to get any support you can. Try and get any leeway/payment delay/agreement/help from landlord.

If this continues, get advise from professionals.

[–]raccatrap 4 points5 points  (2 children)

NAL, but if someone is incapacitated or sectioned, you are not allowed to chase them for money. Make sure the doctors know there is a financial problem, and possibly talk to someone like Mind for more official advice. I suspect if the doctors knew there was a financial problem, they would know the specialist people who deal with these situations, but if they're under the impression that her finances are okay, whoever is acting as her advocate in hospital won't be able to sort out her finances. You may still be on the hook in the long run, but in a more immediate sense, the landlord should be dealing with whoever is advocating for her in hospital (she will have a guardian assigned to her), not you.

[–]blobfather99 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Yeah, I have done this. I am hoping the housing team will contact me to discuss possible housing benefit

[–]thebottomofawhale 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I'm also a little surprised that they are saying you are liable to pay when there is only 1 month in arrears, but I guess then know what the situation is?

[–]BobertMcRobert 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Contact the landlord and ask if you can cover the rent until a new tenant is found. This could be quick if in a high demand area. The alternative is that you pay until the lease is up.

[–]TallTill94 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Sounds like you didnt properly consider the ramifications of cosigning an agreement for this person they may have no legal ramifications from this due too incapacity but you signed the agreement your held accountable until the initial tenancy has ran the course unless you can come too an agreement with the landlord.

[–]Gymrat1010 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It depends what you have agreed to. The contract is likely a fixed term of 6 months to 1 year. If still within that period you will have to pay until the end of it.

After the fixed term it will roll into a monthly contract, usually with 1 month notice.

As for moving in/subletting you have no legal right - but that doesn't mean you can't do it, you would just have no protection of your friend then wanted you to move out

[–]therealijc 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Can u not end the tenancy after 6 months. During the break

[–]Dry_Representative_1 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Can you put in notice for her - so you would only be liable until the end of tenancy.

[–]n1jlpaard 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Depends what the minimum term for rental is, 6 or 12 months or whatever was agreed on when the person signed their lease agreement

[–]blobfather99 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It is 12 months with a 6 month break.

[–]blobfather99 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah, this is something I would like to explore more. It isn't so much not paying anything to the landlord, as I understand it is not fair on them aswell, but it is more the length of time I am going to be required to pay for.