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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36241
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My brother-in-law signed as a guarantor on a property rental

Customer Question

my brother-in-law signed as a guarantor on a property rental lease for me 12 years ago. The lease was was not ever formerly renewed after the first year. I am moving out this month. Is he still responsible/the guarantor if there are any unsettled costs?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Are you saying you never signed a new lease after the initial fixed term lease ended?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
never signed a new lease.
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Ok, when the initial fixed term lease expired, and you went month to month, each time the landlord accepted rent he entered into a completely new monthly contract with you.

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So if you left owing the landlord anything at the end of the lease, he could only come after you for payment.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
is this information documented somewhere that i could offer as evidence of such?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

No, this is not a statue anywhere...the law isn't that specific. It is just a common law, which has evolved over time and case law.

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This is something that the cosigner would argue to a judge if the landlord tried to sue him for any damages if you failed to pay them.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
ok thank you. they are claiming he will be responsible if i do not pay them a disputed amount. i am happy to handle the dispute with them myself, but wanted to ensure he would not be on the hook in any way.
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time. I think they are just bluffing you trying to scare you into settling with them by threatening to go after brother in law.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
someone just said this to me "It really depends on the language of the guaranty, but in my experience, most such guaranties say that the guarantor remains liable until the the lease is terminated and the tenant has returned the property to the owner. Take a look at what the written guaranty itself says. Don't be surprised if it says your brother-in-law is still liable."wasn't the lease terminated after the initial lease expired and we went via verbal month to month? or is she right, that he is on the hook until i "return the property"?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

wasn't the lease terminated after the initial lease expired and we went via verbal month to month? or is she right, that he is on the hook until i "return the property"?

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That is what I meant by when the lease expired and it went month to month, it is an entirely new rental agreement each month... So once the period of time expires that the guarantor agreed to be a guarantor, they are done. The instant you turned into a month to month tenant, the guarantor is off the hook because they fulfilled their pledge to be a guarantor for that period. The landlord could come after them if you didnt' pay some amount for that period, but that lease is over and dead. And in its place are successive month to month tenancies until one of you terminates it.

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So unless the lease states something like the guarantor agrees to be liable for the entire duration of any occupancy, then once the time expires that they agreed to be guarantor, they are done.

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With that said, I would agree that a lot of it does depend on the wording of the guarantee and you would need to look at it to see specifically what he agreed to guarantee..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
i dont have a copy of the guarantor form.
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.

Well, I can't really make any guesses as to what it says... You could contact the landlord to see if they have a copy, but they might have thrown it out as well once the lease expired as it would be unusual for them to keep things longer than a couple years.. I purge my records about every 4-5 years and shred all my tenant records.. If they don't have it, then they are completely out of luck in trying to claim that he is still potentially liable.

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

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