My wife agreed to be guarantor for her son’s rental without telling me. His car was repossessed for nonpayment of his loan. What should I do?

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Dear Quentin,

About four days ago, I received an email from my wife’s bank that someone requested her login username via password reset. When I asked my wife about it she said she forgot her username, and she’s trying to get my stepson access to her online portal so she can download some of his bank details. He further explained that he was doing this to pay a rental-property company because they would not rent to him because of his lack of credit history, and he told me that he signed paperwork to be a guarantor of his lease. Were .

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We live in a community-property state that allows for fairly ironclad guaranty agreements by law creditors based on what I’ve read on the subject. Also he didn’t tell me about the rental agreement in advance or ask my permission to sign the document, we came to know after about 48 hours that my step son had towed his vehicle after missing three months payments was drawn.

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,The apartment in question is $200 more per month than where my stepson currently lives. My stepson clearly has no credit history, even though he has rented there for the last eight years.,

The apartment in question is $200 more per month than where my stepson currently lives. My stepson clearly has no credit history, even though he has rented there for the last eight years, due to a “handshake” agreement with the property owner, who also happens to be his employer during that time.

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I don’t want to try to force my wife or stepson to ask the rental company to release her from the four day old guarantee agreement, even if she were to consider doing so – which she wouldn’t at this point – As this will not only put my stepson and his family out on the street, but it will also cause a lot of relationship problems for my wife and I.

Can I do anything to protect my finances/assets in the worst case scenario where the rental company asks my wife to collect her rental payments? It won’t necessarily hurt our finances, but it will cause tremendous financial stress for both of us.

P.S. I should probably add that my wife is not a native English speaker, and not a great one at that, and my state requires rental agents to “suspect” that a potential guarantor doesn’t speak English, Provides agreements in their language. I would like to know if there are any ways that guarantor agreements can be invalidated if my stepson later defaults on his rent payments. At least we could have fought the rental company in court to invalidate the agreement.

husband and father

dear husband,

Two things: First, waiting until your stepson is in default on his loan before breaking the rental agreement would probably be considered opportunistic. Second, you and your wife should supervise your stepson’s finances, and make sure he is meeting his obligations – he should not have access to your wife’s accounts. It is your stepson’s responsibility to honor this agreement, build a credit history, and know what is at stake if he fails to meet his obligations.

Most lawyers worth their salt will advise you avoid Legal action whenever possible. It is often long and expensive, and there is no guarantee of success. You seem to be torn between finding ways to break this contract and accepting it because you don’t want to cause any discord in your relationship. An attorney can also advise you on your options, and whether the language issue is actually a valid loophole in your state.

Here are some reasons a rent agreement may be invalid: important information is missing (tenant’s term, deposit and monthly rent, presence of materials such as asbestos); the apartment is not livable and does not meet City health and/or building code standards; Your stepson is called up for active military duty; the terms of the lease were changed without your stepson’s knowledge or consent; and/or the lease includes an early-termination clause.

Joel S. Winston, a litigation attorney with The Winston Law Firm, LLC, told Credit.com: Don’t make up reasons for getting out of the lease. More often than not, they won’t work. However, some rules apply in most states. “Warranty of habitability is accepted law in most jurisdictions in the US,” he said. “In some states, warranties have been established by decades of case law. But in other states, warranties have been established explicitly by statute.

It’s time to sit down with your wife and stepson, and together use this as an opportunity to talk about personal responsibility, budgeting, and what went wrong with the car payment – is your stepson living within his means? living beyond? Also make a plan to avoid non-payment of rent. Separately talk to your wife that such decisions should not be unilateral. You are a team after all.

A lot of conspiracies have happened behind the scenes. This is the time to talk about making financial decisions as a family and how to prevent any defaults in the future.

check out moneylender private facebook Group, where we find answers to life’s toughest money issues. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you’d like to know more about, or pay attention to the latest Manist column.

Dhanwadi regrets that he cannot answer questions personally.

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