Q&A - How can we be liable for rent arrears and damage incurred after our son left student house?

Q:    Our son started university in October but came home in November as he was uncomfortable with the behaviour of his housemates and their lack of respect for the COVID-19 rules.

When he started, we signed a guarantee agreement for his accommodation and paid his share of the rent for the whole term. Now we have had a letter from the landlord demanding payment of rent arrears accrued by one of his flatmates. In addition, he is demanding payment for damage to the house, which happened after our son came home. We have contacted the landlord with proof of our son’s rent payment and proof that he was at home with us when the damage occurred, but he is adamant that we are still liable. How can this be?

A:     Although many parents who provide guarantees believe that they are only providing a guarantee in respect of their own child, the Tenancy Agreement in respect of the property will usually contain a clause which provides that each tenant is ‘jointly and severally liable’.  This means that if one tenant fails to pay their rent or causes damage, the others will be liable.

Every tenancy agreement can be different, as can every guarantee agreement. You may have been given a written explanation about the extent of the guarantee in an email or letter and this could be different to the documents, so you should get this checked out.

Your best course of action is to seek advice from a solicitor immediately regarding the guarantee document and the tenancy agreement.  You will also need to provide your solicitor with a copy of the tenancy agreement and any additional correspondence that you have received from the landlord in respect of the rent arrears and payment for the damage to the house.

Article 11/01/2021

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.

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Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham

James Denton

James Denton


Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team in the Oswestry and Wrexham offices.