£200 outstanding bill on prepayment/key meters?

by Readers Question

9:31 AM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

£200 outstanding bill on prepayment/key meters?

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£200 outstanding bill on prepayment/key meters?

I eventually managed to evict a non-paying tenant using a section 8. However, it now turns out that they left an electric and gas bill of nearly £200 outstanding before they left.

How it is possible to run up a bill like that when both meters are prepayment/key meters? I have no idea.

The agent actually seemed to think I ought to pay their bill, but I’m pretty sure it is not my debt.

What is my legal position and what do I need to so in order to be able to let the property again with no debt?

Many thanks

Kathy



Comments

Michael M

10:41 AM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Kathy
I am in exactly the same position. My agent advises me that the debt follows the tenant. It is not your responsibility. Apparently if you call the suppler they should give you a code for each meter which you then give to a retailer where you buy the top-up card from. The code will then negate the outstanding debt to zero and allow you to put a payment, say £10, onto each meter. It is the suppliers job to then chase the debt. Hope this helps.
Regards Mick

Chris H

11:16 AM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

A debt is possible because of the daily rates regardless if you use energy or not.
I was in this situation as well, just make sure you have proof of the meter readings on the day the tenant was evicted.
It doesn't matter what the meters show the energy companies use the units used and dates to work out how much is owed.
When my tenant was evicted the gas meter showed £3,000+ in credit!
Eventually the meter was replaced.

Clint

11:18 AM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Your agent is absolutely correct. I have this happen regularly. The code the utility company gives you clears the debt after which you can top up your meter

Gunga Din

11:22 AM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Kathy, your agent sounds to be, shall we say, “inexperienced”!

I agree with MM, the debt follows the tenant. I tell the utility supplier the readings when I take responsibility, with the statement that I accept liability from then. Tell them, don’t ask them. The LL is an easy target.

As regards how can a debt be run up on a card meter - I’ve had this too but not to that extent. The explanation is usually predicted usage based on past consumption, and standing charge.

Ebico and Utilita do tariffs with no standing charge, should that be of interest. It is for me since I sometimes get voids months long (I’m fussy). The suppliers which don’t offer no SC will tell you they don’t exist any more, of course. Ebico in particular is spectacularly easy to apply to, online, their customer service line answers in no time, and they’re not abroad. Utilita will likely insist you get a smart meter for the privilege of no SC, but you can defer the installation indefinitely, I’ve found (since I live remote from the properties),

Kate Mellor

11:37 AM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

It may be the balance of a debt they ran up before the supplier switched them to prepayment meters. Assuming the meters weren’t there when they took occupation that is. It is usual for some arrears to be paid of each week, so when the tenant tops up, some money goes to the old debt & the rest towards new charges.
Aside from that the advice already given is correct. You won’t be charged for the debt.

John Parfett

12:22 PM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 19/08/2019 - 11:22
It’s good to be fussy when choosing tenants

Kathy Evans

13:36 PM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael M at 19/08/2019 - 10:41
Thanks Mick. That's what I did when a similar thing happened to me last year. But the dipstick agent has got a code fora new key that did not do this - I don't the think the agent even knew there was a debt until the the gas engineer informed them when he went in to do CP12. I really think the agent doesn't know his job.

Peter Hindley

20:04 PM, 19th August 2019
About 2 months ago

I've had the same. I phoned the energy supplier & their first words were "would you like me to make that debt disappear for you". I was stunned. They did what others above have said & cleared the meter.

Kathy Evans

11:40 AM, 20th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Currently, the agent says that the supplier will only write off the debt if the account is transferred into my name and that there will still be standing charges - what do you think?

Chris H

12:01 PM, 20th August 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kathy Evans at 20/08/2019 - 11:40
I would talk to the suppliers directly.
Any standing charges for you should only start the day the tenant was evicted.

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