Guarantor in guise of co-tenant

A letter explaining to the landlord or agent that it is illegal to require a guarantor for a tenancy agreement. This letter is written as if it is coming from the person who has been asked to be a guarantor, not the tenant who is applying to move in to the premises.

Copy and paste the template letter below or download a copy from the link above. Remember to substitute your details for the details contained in [square brackets].

[Your name and address]


[Landlord’s or agent’s name and address]

Dear …

Re: Residential tenancy agreement for [address of rental premises]

On [date] I was asked to be a co-tenant on a residential tenancy agreement for the above premises. I believe this was in case the tenant defaulted with payment of rent.

I draw your attention to section 160 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which states:

“(1) A landlord, landlord’s agent … must not require or receive from a tenant or other person anything other than a rental bond as security for any failure by a tenant to comply with the terms of a residential tenancy agreement.”

Section 219 of the same Act states:

“(1) A term of any … agreement … is void to the extent that it purports to exclude, limit or modify the operation of this Act or the regulations.

(2) A person must not enter into any … agreement, with the intention, either directly or indirectly, of defeating, evading or preventing the operation of this Act or the regulations.”

The maximum penalties for breaches of the above provisions are $2200.

Accordingly, it is an offence for a landlord or real estate agent to enter into an arrangement which makes a family member or friend a co-tenant on the residential tenancy agreement in order to make them liable for the debts of the other person when they have no intention of living at the premises.

I ask that you confirm in writing that you will correct the residential tenancy agreement to remove my name and show [name of tenant] as sole tenant. If you do not do this, I will lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.

Yours sincerely

[signature and name]