The Curse of the Guarantor

Q: About 20 years in the past, as a favor to a buddy, I signed on because the guarantor for his lease on a rental condo within the Village. He nonetheless lives there, and has presumably renewed the lease yearly; we by no means mentioned it. Our friendship has just lately ended, and since he has been unemployed for over 18 months, I’m involved that he could quickly be unable to pay his lease. I now not have a replica of the lease, and he is not going to present me with one. I’m unsure if my identify continues to be on the lease, however whether it is, I’d wish to take away myself because the guarantor. How do I do this?

A: Sign a lease as a guarantor and you might be simply as accountable for the lease because the tenant dwelling within the condo. In some leases, the guarantor is just named for the preliminary time period. In others, the guarantor stays on the lease with every renewal, wherein case you’d nonetheless be accountable all these years later. If the owner had been to take the tenant to housing courtroom, you’d be named within the case.

So it’s essential see a replica of the lease. If your former buddy received’t present it to you, contact the managing agent or the owner and clarify that you just had been the guarantor for a lease signed 20 years in the past and want to assessment it. If you don’t know who owns or manages the property, lookup the constructing’s deal with on ACRIS, town’s property-record portal, or stroll previous it and see if the managing agent’s identify is on a placard. A brilliant or doorman might additionally inform you whom to contact.

If you might be nonetheless named, ask the owner to terminate your assure. This could take some negotiation, and also you might need to expose your considerations about your former buddy to guard your monetary pursuits. Unfortunately, your leverage might be restricted. The best choice can be to inform the owner that you’re unable or refuse to face behind the tenant’s obligation.

“This might make the owner involved and look to both demand that the tenant discover a new guarantor or refuse to resume the tenant’s lease,” if the condo is market charge, mentioned Sherwin Belkin, a lawyer who represents landlords and a associate on the New York City agency Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman.

Before you expose your former buddy’s monetary instability, successfully placing him at risk of dropping his condo, you can provide him another likelihood to point out you the lease. If he refuses, you’ll haven’t any alternative however to contain the owner. And even when he does present it to you, you should still be on the hook for 1000’s of .

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