Do I pay eccentric tenant’s Gas Bill?

Do I pay eccentric tenant’s Gas Bill?

11:55 AM, 19th January 2022, About 5 months ago 22

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I bought a house in 2007 and let it to a single person, who has remained in place ever since. As the years have gone by they’ve become more and more eccentric to the point where their refusal to allow entry for a CP12 led to the disconnection of their gas.

The strange thing is now, out of the blue I’m getting an estimated gas bill from e-on sent to my home address.

Any clues as to how to proceed?

Are they entitled to do this?

Presumably, he was paying his own gas bills through his own account on the run-up to disconnection?

There’s no mention of any arrears just a ‘first prepayment gas statement – estimated’. The bill is small, but that’s not the issue.

How can I stop the rot?

Steven



Comments

Joe Armstrong

19:15 PM, 19th January 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 19/01/2022 - 18:39
The let is fully managed by a letting agent, so no, I wasn't reading meters. I was just opening letters from the Debt collection agency that British Gas sold the debt to. Questions like 'What is this ridiculous figure meant to represent?' were unheeded. I was confident that the ombudsman would at least demand British Gas justified the amount but they didn't bother. Just ruled in their favour.

silversurfer2017

21:32 PM, 19th January 2022, About 5 months ago

The debt was probably sold to a company like LCS who are notorious for buying doubtful debts at big discounts from utility companies. Their tactic is to pursue whoever first bothers to phone them first. It does not matter if you are a landlord, they will try to distort the law and tell you that tenants' debts are ultimately your responsibility. If you have made the mistake of contacting them then the next best action is to invite them to take you to court. They won't because they know they will lose.
Regarding you recent British Gas bill if you are paying your agent for full management and not just a rent collection service then this is something your agent should be doing. He/she should have worked out the approximate amount of the gas bill and this figure should have been presented to the ombudsman as a fair figure. If you have a good agent then he/she should be doing almost everything that you would be doing if you managed the property yourself. You don't want to be paying good money for a second class service. Gas and electric meters should be read when the property becomes void. Water meters not so important - no standing charges - usually agree to freeze the account until next tenant moves in. Council tax office should be notified that you will be paying until next tenant moves in. When new tenant moves in agent or you should give utility companies reading of meters when new tenant moves in and request that they send you a final bill for the electricity or gas account. Also notify Council Tax office names of new tenants and moving in date. Bear in mind of course that the next time the property becomes void the previous tenant might have changed suppliers, but you know, and your agent should definitely know the websites which give current utility suppliers for any UK address.

Bala

21:48 PM, 19th January 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 19/01/2022 - 18:39
It is a first Prepayment bill. Means this is a pay as you go bill. Tenant would have change from post payment meter to pre payment. Normally gas company send the first bill in the landlord name. There is no high risk because they could go up to £10 max as emergency credit after that they will stop the supply. Still if you wish you could change it to the tenant’s name.
Check the bill meter number tally with number shown on the meter. Bala

Joe Armstrong

22:03 PM, 19th January 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 19/01/2022 - 21:32
That's a very informative and helpful reply and I'm extremely grateful that you have taken the time & effort to put it all together. It makes a lot of sense and I thank you sincerely.

Joe Armstrong

22:05 PM, 19th January 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bala at 19/01/2022 - 21:48
Excellent! Thanks, I'm less furious now.

Gunga Din

18:41 PM, 20th January 2022, About 5 months ago

To the OP - generally I adopt the mindset that I will TELL the utility companies what I will pay for. E.g from vacate date/meter read to new tenant move-in date/meter read. This is important because one should assume a tenant may close his acct. with a fictitious low reading, and the new tenant will start his acct. with a high reading assuming LL won't check.
In a conflict I inform the supplier via their online message facility in their website, which hopefully generates an acknowledgement email even if they don't read it.
Otherwise email their customer service address and you will have evidence of email being sent, even if they don't reply.
If you're bored, telephone them too. This sometimes gets results.
As has been said, utilities and debt companies chase the easy target, the LL, assuming the LL won't fight back. Its actually easy to stand up to them.

Helen

19:45 PM, 20th January 2022, About 5 months ago

I always do the opening reads and closing reads with the tenant and take photos of them too on check in and check out so it can't be disputed.

Jacque1ine

10:11 AM, 22nd January 2022, About 5 months ago

I would suggest speaking to Adult Social Services and the police as part of a welfare check

Gunga Din

10:19 AM, 22nd January 2022, About 5 months ago

He could, and that would show admirable care and concern above and beyond the call of duty. However the LL rents the property to the tenant on a business basis, and just because the tenant apparently has no help from friends/relatives doesn't place a responsibility on the LL to step in and take over.
I wonder to what extent Social Services would speak to a LL about a tenant, and whether the Police would dismiss it as a civil matter, no crime committed.

Jacque1ine

10:28 AM, 22nd January 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 22/01/2022 - 10:19
I have involved authorities for welfare check. Police did go out of concern ( deaths in houses are complicated) Secondly Adult Social Services can assist in providing the support this person may need. ( daily/weekly visit, getting utilities switched back on/disability grants if needed) . Quite often this extra care can help place an individual in alternative housing or help get things back on track.

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