Here is a question to the blog clinic from Teresa (not her real name) who is a guarantor
I know it’s not a pretty subject but I need some help please.
I am in the unfortunate situation of being a guarantor of a tenant who has died.
The flat was rented through a private landlord who has said despite the tragic circumstances, that I am now responsible for the rent. Is this true?
A tenant dying does not end the tenancy. What happens to it depends on whether the tenancy fixed term has ended or not.
If the fixed term is still running, then the tenancy will pass to whoever inherits under the tenants will or intestacy. However pending this the rent will be payable by the estate of the deceased.
If the tenancy is a periodic one, then it will pass under the succession rules, but in this case I assume that the tenant was living there alone. In which case again it will pass under the tenants will or intestacy, and initially will be the responsibility of the personal representatives.
I am not a trust and probate solicitor but my feeling is that the guarantee will not be ended by the tenant dying. So you will be liable as guarantor during the administration of the estate.
If the tenancy was then formally assigned to someone else by the executors I think your liability would end (as you did not sign to guarantee the new tenant), but realistically this is unlikely to happen.
So to get you ‘off the hook’ the tenancy needs to end. If the tenancy is a periodic one, then the executors can serve a notice to quit on the landlord which will end it. There may also be scope for you to terminate your guarantee – have a read of exactly what it says.
However if the fixed term still has some time to run, you will be in difficulties. However you will have the legal right to claim against the tenants estate (if he owned anything of value) if you have to pay any money out.