Electricity bill to landlord – can they make me pay?

by Readers Question

13:29 PM, 9th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Electricity bill to landlord – can they make me pay?

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Electricity bill to landlord – can they make me pay?

I am being billed for electricity at a flat i have continuously rented out for years and never lived at. Electricity bill to landlord - can they make me pay

There have been tenant change overs (on the same day) at approx 1 year intervals.

I am not and have never been a customer of this electricity company but they have started sending me a bill in my name with (Landlord) at the flat address.

How can they do this?

I am now getting the threatening ‘unpaid bill’ letters and wish to avoid debt action.

Can they bill me for electricity used by someone else?

Regards

John Dace



Comments

Mark Alexander

13:33 PM, 9th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi John

In a word - "NO!"

I suggest you write to the electricity company stating your position and explaining that should they wish to take you to Court you will counter claim for your time and inconvenience and that you are in a position to present evidence in the form of tenancy agreements and proof of identity for your tenants.
.

Yvette Newbury

1:57 AM, 10th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Why are the utility companies so bad at this simple administration? I spoke to Ofgem years ago about this - notifying the utility provider and receiving confirmation in writing that a change had been made to the name on the utility bill to my tenant's name, then finding out months later it was still in my name. Ofgem agreed that if a utility company were that incompetent that they could not change the name and read the meter themselves even once during a one year tenancy then really there was no helping them! You are not liable to pay, just send them your tenancy agreement that confirms the tenant should pay, and any other evidence you have of having notified them (I keep EVERYTHING for years!) plus the forwarding address of your previous tenant and that should be it.

Mike W

16:29 PM, 10th September 2013
About 5 years ago

I too regularly have problems with utility providers. So I know only communicate by email (therefore written record). Yes it often takes several emails. Yes I frequently get letters to the rental property but then I simply scan them, attach my previous email and ask what cannot be understood by someone who understands the English language. I always win but I think I will have to try the compensation route for my time being wasted by the incompetence of the company.

Of course guess who ultimately pays for the utility company incompetence? Yep the purchaser of the utilities!!

David Sweeney

17:48 PM, 10th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mike W" at "10/09/2013 - 16:29":

In this situation, the departing tenant has presumably told the utility company he didn't want liability beyond move out date. They would have asked who was taking over responsibility. Tenant wouldn't know, so LL is obvious answer. It would appear new tenant hasn't signed up so it stayed in LLs name.

It isn't clear if John has contacted the utility company with the current tenants name - a wise move and it is so easy to find out which supplier applies at change-over time - just a simple phone call.
.

Mike W

17:57 PM, 10th September 2013
About 5 years ago

John, I forgot to mention my leases are back to back - no voids and I do tell the utility comps providing readings and details of tenants and forwarding addresses. Just like email to council for ct purposes. Oh and there is a clause in the lease specifically mentioning this 'service'.

Vanessa Warwick

8:27 AM, 11th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Such good advice given here.

When I was a newbie landlord 10 years ago, I got one of these bills and I didn't know any better, so I paid it! DOH!

Ignorance is expensive in property. That is why resources like P118 and Property Tribes are SO valuable to landlords.

Bravo! to everyone who has shared so generously on this thread. You are helping to educate incoming newbie landlords.

Mick Roberts

14:23 PM, 12th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "11/09/2013 - 08:27":

Ha ha, 'doh' I'm replying to a lot of emails & there is some sense of humour out there today. I've just saw Vanessa's new vid at the property show & wonder how these men can keep serious straight face when interview by gorgeous blonde landlord/lady-Should I be saying that on a public wall? Shut up Mick before u get yourself in trouble. And then u publicly admit u paid someone else's electric bill 'Doh'. U got to laugh & u r brave for admitting that.
But on more serious note, yes I get these bills ALL the time or used to. I don't even ring the moron's. Sorry for using that word, but most of the time, especially with British Gas, u end up ringing call centre in India, where they han't got a clue if it's anything from the norm.
So as someone above said, get the complaints email department, deal with them even if only swap over name to name, in complaints they know the dept. your email has to go to, they send it 'em, & because it has come from complaints, they deal with you more seriously. And try not to phone, because the right hand don't know what they left hand will be doing & u will have no record by phone. U may think email slower, but u will find, problem will be solved quicker. I've had hundreds in compensation off the utility companies over the past 15 years.
Quite often, tenancy agreement gets your name off the elec peoples' register & in future, if u can, don't even get involved, get tenants to do it from name to name & your name will eventually disappear off the radar.

Yvette Newbury

15:05 PM, 12th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Just reading Mick Roberts reply and it reminded me of another good tactic. Go onto the relevant supplier facebook page and complain on there if you have any problems. I did this recently and got it sorted within a day, excellent response, yet my email has still not been responded to.

Mark Alexander

15:10 PM, 12th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "12/09/2013 - 15:05":

Twitter works too, no business likes publicity messages in Social Media and the people monitoring social media streams are often the most responsive staff in any business 😉

Vanessa Warwick

15:14 PM, 12th September 2013
About 5 years ago

@Mick

Thank you for your kind comments. *Blushes*

If anyone wants to see our video report and interviews from the Landlord and Letting Show at the Barbican in London yesterday, mosey on over to Property Tribes. 🙂

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