Can Guarantor recover money from the guaranteed tenants?

I’ve been asked to be the guarantor of tenancy agreement, and I feel I’m emotionally pushed to do it as my friend is very hard situation and needs help. If the landlord made a claim for unpaid rent, and I pay it, can I recover the money from the guaranteed tenant? How I can protect myself and limit the responsibility as a guarantor?

Asked on January 11, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't recover money frm the tenant *unless* you have a written agreement with the tenant that he/she will repay you any amounts. The guaranty agreement itself is "one way": it obligates you to pay, not anyone to repay you. So you need an agreement with the tenant that he/she will repay you; such a written agreement, signed by the tenant is enforceable against him or her. Of course, that will NOT help if the tenant simply does not have the money to pay--it doesn't matter what you are legally entitled to if there is no money available. It also may not help if your friend "disappears": leaves without letting you know where they are going, since you can't sue someone you can't find. And even if they do have money and you can find them, if they won't pay voluntarly, you will incur the cost and trouble and time of a lawsuit to get your money.
Guarantying the lease (or any major obligation, like, say, a car) for someone in a "very hard situation" often means that you end up paying for them: don't do this unless you are able and willing to be the one paying this lease.


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