Dispute over landlord or tenants utility bill

Dispute over landlord or tenants utility bill

11:10 AM, 20th August 2014, About 7 years ago 21

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Dispute over landlord or tenants utility bill

My tenant left an unpaid utility bill, the utility account was never in her name but the partner who always paid the bill until he left her.

She then left about 3 weeks later by informing me but left the key in my post box (I live next door) when I was not at home, so I could not ask/check anything.

2 months later, the new tenants gives me letter addressed to “legal home owner”, which was from a debt recovery company.

I wrote to British Gas who provided the service stating the facts with details of the tenants. I spoke to them and found out that the tenancy was in Julie’s name but the account with British gas was John’s. John had told the British gas that he was leaving, this was about 3 weeks before Julie. I was unaware until I spoke to British gas that Julie was not paying for anything until she finally left 3 weeks later.

British gas told me that John’s account was closed and 3 weeks later, my new tenant’s account was opened, so the time in between was for landlord to pay.

Having given them an account of what happened, British gas has accepted that it is Julie’s responsibility to pay the unpaid bill as she was living during the period in question. However, they have not yet, stopped the debt recovery company from doing anything…. where do I stand in all this?




by Reader

11:59 AM, 24th August 2014, About 7 years ago

Oh Dear,
More gas including, British Gas.
In the many schedules to The Gas Act I think you will discover why landlords are receiving bills when their tenants fail to sign up to a supplier. How British Gas handle these cases does cause me some concern.
At the rear of the above statute you find a provision that stipulates that the legal owner of a property has liability for the provision of a supply. So if your tenants don't sign up expect a bill in your name. Sadly the default supplier is British Gas who used to be administratively hopeless unless you waited for enforcement proceedings when mostly competent staff took over. However when I once asked to whom was I speaking the reply was Ewan Silence and the phone line went dead!

by Neil Robb

17:22 PM, 24th August 2014, About 7 years ago

If you can get into the habit phone and asked for the account to go into the tenants name once the tenant signs. Some companies let the landlord do this others insist the tenant must do this. I have been allowing prepayments meters to be put in my properties for sometime now. But be careful and make sure the account is In their name because if the fiddle the meter you can be held liable.

by All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

17:54 PM, 24th August 2014, About 7 years ago

Neil - I have never had any utility company say I cannot put the bill into the tenants name... I wonder which are the awkward utility companies ?

by Darren Morris

12:14 PM, 26th August 2014, About 7 years ago

I have a similar problem I need advice on.

My tenant moved out on 27th April 2014. The property has been vacant ever since, as I’m in the process of selling up. I visited the flat this weekend to clear out the mailbox and found a number of letters from British Gas addressed to “The New Occupier”. The first was an estimated bill for a new account for the period 27/04/14 – 25/05/14 for £73.53. The last letter was in July and the bill had increased to £256 based on Collections Agency costs etc on what they presumed is an unpaid bill!

Does anyone have any experience of dealing with Utility Companies, trying to get them to understand that they’re billing an empty property? I’ve rung British Gas this morning but I’ve been bounced around various departments with no success. Clearly I want this sorted before anyone buys the flat. Is it a simple process to clear this imaginary debt? I certainly don’t want to pay it!

Many thanks in advance!

by Reader

12:24 PM, 26th August 2014, About 7 years ago

Darren, It sounds like the provisions in the Gas Act I mentioned and have experienced in empty properties are being applied to you. You will have probably find yourself on an expensive tariff. Give them the correct readings and sign up to a sensible tariff. By the way I have found out you will not be able to swap until outstanding bills have been settled. Good luck.

by Darren Morris

13:22 PM, 26th August 2014, About 7 years ago

Thanks for that - so as the owner of a (currently) empty property do I have to re-assume responsibility of the utility bills? I guess my main worry is can I get the current bill cancelled?

by Mark Alexander

14:26 PM, 26th August 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Darren Morris" at "26/08/2014 - 13:22":

Yes you must resume responsibility and you can get the current assessment amended once you have provided an accurate reading.

Were readings checked, agreed and recorded with BG when your tenant moved out?

by Darren Morris

14:31 PM, 26th August 2014, About 7 years ago

Thanks Mark,

I'm trying to establish with my lettings agency if the meter readings were checked and agreed when the tenant moved out. I think they were, as the start date of the bill of the "new account" is the same date that the tenant officially moved out.

by aga smart

14:59 PM, 2nd September 2014, About 7 years ago

I am happy to say things are sorted as soon as I get written confirmation through the post from British Gas.

What helped me was that rather than doing anything with LCS, as advised, I wrote to BG, and asked them to change the name on the bill from legal owner to the tenant's name. Then to stop LCS, I spoke to BG again at the higher level who was authorised to stop LCS and write off the debt. This was only possible through consumer services! And... I had few emails o and from British gas through their face book page where anyone can post anything, they are preety good responding on their page and resolving things faster ususlly by emails as everything can't be done on face book page. phew..... I can relax now!! Thanks to everyone helping me on this matter.

by Neil Robb

8:25 AM, 16th September 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "All BankersAreBarstewards Smith" at "24/08/2014 - 17:54":


Power NI will not let you put the account In the tenants name. The tenant must do it.

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