A good tenant can be a pleasure. A bad one a disaster. About one in seven of enquiries at the moment are from sad landlords chasing residential rent arrears. Often they have no idea even where the ex-tenant has gone to. We tell them that they have been cheated and they just have to to get on with life. But they can learn. They took up references, but have they thought that the next tenant could be asked to provide a guarantor. The form is simple. Estate agents use them all the time.

We have several times come across a guarantor who was on benefit, worthless.  Recently however we met a new trick. The landlord had allowed the tenants, two students, to take the guarantee form away. They returned with the guarantee. It had been signed by an uncle of one of the students. The students took up occupation. They left with substantial rent arrears (tenants just too often do) and we were instructed. We treat guarantors as regular-type debtors. Chasing was simple enough, but what we found was surprising. The uncle was there sure enough, but he denied ever having signed the form. Given that the landlord had not sent him the form, but had allowed the students to leave with it, his denial was quite possibly true.

We countered that the deception was unfortunate, but his denial of responsibility now left his niece open to a charge of forgery. Would he like that? Would you believe the answer? He would!! He had employed her and only a month ago had sacked her for theft!! We closed our file.

A careful landlord coupled with a credit-worthy guarantor should be safe enough.

L.M.Wise FCA