Understanding a Good Guy Guaranty

When it comes to leasing office space, there is no shortage of complex terms and conditions that tenants encounter when negotiating a lease. One such term that might raise eyebrows is the "Good Guy Guaranty" (or GGG), a crucial element that can have a significant impact on the principal's responsibilities and liabilities as a tenant.

So what exactly is a Good Guy Guaranty?

(The below is basic primer on a Good Guy Guarantee. It is not a comprehensive explanation and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney with any further questions on the GGG in general or your situation in particular.)

The Basics: What is a Good Guy Guaranty?

A Good Guy Guaranty is a legal agreement often used in commercial leasing, especially in the realm of office space. This agreement is typically signed by the principal(s) of the entity named in the lease and serves as a limited personal guarantee for the time in which the space is occupied by the tenant. In essence, it's a personal guarantee that the tenant won't squat in the space and will vacate promptly in the event the entity can't meet it's rental obligations.   

In the event that the tenant decides to vacate the space prior to a lease expiration and hand back the keys to the Landlord, the principal guarantees that the named entity will be current on the rent obligation up to the date of vacating. At that point, the principal is released from the personal guarantee but all other remaining rental payment obligations remain the responsibility of the entity named on the lease. 

The Good Guy Clause: What Does It Include?

The "Good Guy" aspect of the GGG refers to a specific provision in the guarantee. It states that as long as the tenant vacates the premises and surrenders the leased space in a good condition by a specified date (known as the "Good Guy Date"), the guarantor's personal liability is released. Essentially, the guarantor's liability ends once the tenant voluntarily terminates the lease and leaves the premises in a satisfactory state.

The primary purpose of a Good Guy Guaranty is to protect the landlord's interests while offering some flexibility to the tenant. It usually includes the following key elements:

1. Personal Liability:

The principal owner or tenant signing the Good Guy Guaranty agrees to be personally liable for the lease obligations during the period of tenant's occupancy. This means that if the tenant monetarily defaults on the lease, the guarantor can be held personally responsible for the rent and other obligations up until the date of surrender.

2. Lease Termination Conditions:

A crucial aspect of the Good Guy Guaranty is that it allows the tenant to terminate the lease early under specific circumstances. These circumstances often include:

  • Providing advance notice of the intention to terminate the lease.
  • Ensuring that the tenant is not in default at the time of termination.
  • Surrendering the leased premises in good condition.
  • Settling any outstanding rent and obligations.

3. Guarantor's Reputation:

The "Good Guy" aspect implies that the tenant, specifically the guarantor, must maintain a good business reputation. If the tenant's business is involved in any unlawful or unethical activities, the guarantor may lose the protection provided by the Good Guy Guaranty.

Why Does It Matter?

Understanding the significance of a Good Guy Guaranty is crucial for office space tenants because it can have far-reaching implications:

1. Flexibility:

The guarantor can terminate the lease early under specific conditions, which can be advantageous if the business needs to downsize or exit the lease.

2. Personal Liability:

Tenants need to be aware that, while the Good Guy Guaranty offers some flexibility, it also means the guarantor can be held personally responsible for part of the lease obligation. It is not an option to cancel the lease and does not absolve the tenant from it's contractual obligations.

3. Reputation Matters:

Tenants must uphold a positive business reputation to benefit from the Good Guy Guaranty. Any questionable actions by the tenant or its business could jeopardize this protection.


In the world of commercial leasing, a Good Guy Guaranty can be both a lifeline and a potential liability for office space tenants. It offers flexibility in lease termination but also holds the guarantor personally accountable for lease obligations. Therefore, before signing any lease agreement with a Good Guy Guaranty clause, it's essential to carefully consider the terms, seek legal counsel if needed, and assess your business's ability to meet the conditions outlined in the agreement. Ultimately, understanding this aspect of commercial leasing can help tenants make informed decisions that align with their business goals and responsibilities.