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Elizabeth Prentice
Elizabeth Prentice, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 174
Experience:  Legal counsel for multitude of businesses; Business Law Professor; Experience as In-House Counsel
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I required parent guarantees of my 3 student tenants. one parent

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I required parent guarantees of my 3 student tenants. one parent signed the guarantee, the second one took that original with him, then made handwritten changes requiring that any action to enforce the guarantee must be thru mediation before he returned it to me, without the knowledge or consent of me the landlord or the first parent who signed the guarantee. does this void the guarantee? the guarantee is a required rider to the lease. does it void the lease too?
I am an attorney and I would be happy to assist you. All contracts are open to negotiation. Essentially, since the contract was changed after the 1st parent signed it, they will need to resign it, thereby agreeing to the mediation clause. However, they are not required to agree to the mediation clause. It in no way voids the guarantee. Quite simply, the mediation clause is permissible, but only as to the student who inputted it in the parent guaranty, unless the other parent's sign it again. It also does not void the lease. As to your aspect of the agreement, the mediation clause is merely unenforceable as long as you send writing in notice to the student and their parent that you do not agree to the mediation clause. The parent's guarantee therefore is still valid, as is the lease, you are merely disagreeing with the mediation clause. You do not need another document signed, since you already have the guarantee. Just make sure to confirm that in writing. I would recommend 1 letter sent directly to the student and parent who put in the mediation clause, and then CC the other 2 students and their parents as well, so that everyone is on the same page. Another issue to consider is that mediation is not a bad thing. In fact, most real estate attorneys (like myself) love mediation and arbitration clauses. They save both sides, particularly landlords, a lot of money and headache. You may want to consider accepting the mediation clause and all its advantages before you tell them you don't want to accept it. Regardless, your contract is still valid and you have parent guarantees, so I hope my answer has assisted you and that you will leave me a positive rating!
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