Here is a question to the blog clinic from Joy who is a guarantor
I am guarantor for my son’s tenancy. My son was told £475.00 pcm and £475.00 additional rent/holding fee. The Tenancy commenced on the 02/11/2012.This holding fee was to be paid in 6 instalments of £80. I was not informed of this and did not see the TA although I did request a copy. I was told it would cost me £15.00
I received a letter in March telling me my son was £475.00 in arrears. I contacted my son. He informed me he went in with his rent but the letting agents took £240.00 of this rent towards the holding fee/ additional rent payment. Therefore pushing his rent into arrears.
I would like to ask you if this is allowed. To me it is a deposit if they are holding additional funds. I say this as the letting agents have now informed me it is my son’s finals months rent.
I have now been told in writing it is a
- Holding Fee
- Additional Rent Payment
- Final months rent.
Could you give me some guidance as to how this additional money would be viewed in law?
If you were not given a copy of the tenancy agreement, I would actually question the validity and enforceability of your guarantee. Particularly if they are now seeking to claim money from you for items which were not disclosed to you at the time you signed.
So far as the three explanations for the additional funds are concerned:
- It cannot be a ‘holding fee’ as your son is living in the property, and has done since last November. Holding fees are paid before the tenancy is granted – to ‘hold’ the property for a time so it is not let to someone else, generally while referencing is being done
- It cannot be an additional rent payment unless this was authorised by the tenancy agreement. As you have not been given a copy of this you cannot be bound by this
- They cannot request the final months rent now unless this is authorised by the tenancy agreement. Again as you were not told this and were not given the tenancy agreement you cannot be bound by this.
It sounds to me like a deposit, in which case it should be properly protected with a scheme and your son should have been provided with the prescribed information. Otherwise the agents are in breach.
If the agents are in breach of the tenancy deposit regulations, then your son is entitled to claim the penalty and request that the money either be refunded to him or protected with the DPS. You will find more information >> here.
So far as their claim against you is concerned, I suggest you write to the agents saying that as you were not provided with a copy of the tenancy agreement at the time you signed, and as it now appears that this document contained obligations which you were not told about at the time of signing, you have been advised that your guarantee is now invalid and unenforceable.