How to deal with utility charge after tenant left

by Readers Question

5 months ago

How to deal with utility charge after tenant left

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How to deal with utility charge after tenant left

Hi, I’d like to ask everyone how you deal with utilities after tenant has left and before new tenant moves in.

The problem is that I may not know which electric, gas or water company the tenant chose to use, and may never receive a letter from utility company as they only send bills to the tenanted property address, not my address.

What’s the best way to deal with it?

Thanks

Mike



Comments

Robert Mellors

5 months ago

I can't remember the actual websites at the moment, but if you use the internet to search for "how do I find out my electricity supplier" (or gas supplier) then there will be instructions on how to find out the utility supplier. Once you have found out who the supplier is/are then you need to contact them and advise them of the tenant's move out date, and the new tenant's move in date. Also give them your details as the account holder in the void period, and give them your address as the correspondence address so that they do not send mail to you at the void or (re)let property address.

St. Jims

5 months ago

I pay all bills myself and advertise as "all bills included". Tenants prefer to shop for rooms that way, too - we all like a fixed price.

Maybe I end up paying out a bit more, but to me the difference is small enough to be worth the reduction in ceaseless and unproductive admin, and stressful nagging.

Also, I use Nest thermostats: when no-one is home, the Nest automatically switches off the heating. Prior to fitting a Nest, the tenants would think nothing of leaving the heating on all day while they went to work.

Prakash Tanna

5 months ago

Hi. There are links on the USwitch website for who supplies the gas / elec at your property. Or google 'Who supplies my gas and electriciity'.

I always email the supplier with meter reads when the tenant moves out, transfer the account in my name for the void period and then email them again when somebody moves in.

I use the provide the tenant's forwarding address, but changes in DPA means I may no longer be able to do that. Seek advice ?

For the water, I just email Thames Water as they are the provider for all my sites.

Hope that helps!

moneymanager

5 months ago

Landlords have no responsibility for any outstanding bill and, without a tenant's permission, utility suppliers are precluded by data protection legislation from telling you anything.

I am dealing with a situation now where a joint tenancy has allowed the electricity account to result in a Court order to allow the installation of a prepayment meter (that failed as the court order quoted the wrong meter number). The supplier did confirm that the account isn't even in the tenant's names but is a default owner/occupier account following the closure of the immediately preceeding account by one of the tenants in an earlier joint tenancy.

I always obtain opening/closing readings myself from the property manager and advise suppliers and incoming tenants. I also make it a contract condition that deposit return is contingent on evidenced utility account settlement.

Gunga Din

5 months ago

In addition above - what really grinds my gears is having to pay a standing charge when no-one is in residence. My void periods are often months as I don't accommodate benefits recipients. I always initiate a change to a no-SC supplier on taking over, usually Ebico Zero. If there are pre-pay meters the only supplier I can find to participate is Utilita, who will then install their own smart meters.

Prakash Tanna

5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 08/03/2018 - 10:08
Hi, I use Utilita for low usage supplies where I do not want to pay standing charges (landlord Supplies, long-term empties, etc.). Did you know that if you register for an 'E.on Landlord Service' account and transfer to them they will give you free elec & gas and charge ZERO for upto 30 days ?? It's a simple and easy website to use and notify of tenant changes.

Yvonne Francis

5 months ago

I'm a small self managing landlord so what I do is probably not viable for larger concerns but I take readings at the end of every tenancy myself and simply ask my tenants which company supplies them and sometimes ask for account details. I would not deal with their deposit until they cooperated. I used to ring the companies to give them a final reading and have the bill sent to my address which I paid and took the money from my tenants deposit. However sometimes it became too much work so now I ring with the final reading and give (with permission) a forwarding address of one of the tenants. I then ask the tenants assurance it has been paid. There was a time when landlords were responsible for tenants utility bills and that's why I paid these companies myself but as the situation has now changed simply giving a forwarding address is sufficient. I check with tenants as a precaution and anyway I'm always on good terms with my tenants so I get them to easily cooperate. I myself prefer to know these bills have been paid just in case, despite landlords no longer being responsible for utility bills, it causes any problems at a later date.

Eps

5 months ago

Meter readings are part of the check in and check out process (built into my Inventory). I did this quite recently, notified the supplier with the last readings, the tenant's account was closed and a new one opened in my name until new tenants move in. In the meantime, I got a Landlord's tariff with a zero charge for the actual minimal heating of the property (as per insurance requirements) for a grace period of 30 days which helps a lot during Winter obviously - yes there's a standing charge but in the scheme of things, it's ok. When new tenants moved in, submitted meter readings and received a final bill and closure of my account. The property owner can't avoid paying the bills on their property so it does fall down to you to find out the suppliers and go from there I'm afraid.

Binkie

5 months ago

We have a clause in our tenancy agreement that tenants need to advise us if they change a utility provider. That way you can keep track. They are of course free to select their preferred suppliers, but need to inform us exactly for this reason. Having a good relationship and open communication with your tenants helps, just ask them before they leave.

darren howe

5 months ago

As part of our check out process we always ask what utility company they are using and ask for written proof, ie a recent letter or even an email. We advise tenants to inform company of final readings and we also inform the same.

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