Former tenant – unsettled Utilities bill

by Readers Question

9:31 AM, 20th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Former tenant – unsettled Utilities bill

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Former tenant – unsettled Utilities bill

I had a tenant leave me with little notice, even though the agreement between us clearly stated that either party had to notify the other in writing at least a full month before terminating the agreement. They left within two weeks saying that they couldn’t contact me via my mobile phone even although they had my house phone number and my address. Former tenant - unsettled Utilities bill

We denied them their deposit back due to the fact that they had broken 3 doors (one was missing altogether) , the oven door was broken and a kitchen drawer was broken as well. They left a lounge suite, bed and some other things in the back courtyard despite telling me that they were hiring a van to remove it but then said that they had called the council for a free uplift. On calling the council myself, after this was not picked up, I realised that they had not arranged that either.

They left no forwarding address and maintained that all bills were fully paid and up to date. I later learned that they still owed over £100 to the Electrical Utilities provider. I managed to get in touch via telephone with my tenants to raise this and they said of course they had every intention of settling this but never have.

I now have the utilities provider chasing me for the outstanding amount, where do I stand here?

I have provided the electricity company with phone numbers for them to try and contact the former tenants.

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.



Jeremy Smith

19:19 PM, 20th December 2013
About 7 years ago

That's a fantastic letter Gary, I've taken a copy, should I ever need it !!

Gary Nock

19:30 PM, 20th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Glad you liked it Jeremy!

Ed Atkinson

21:04 PM, 20th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "20/12/2013 - 19:01":

Brilliant. Well done. This text will be stored on file any time might I need it.

Tony McVey

19:29 PM, 22nd December 2013
About 7 years ago

Gary is perfectly correct, landlords are not
liable for the debts of anyone else including tenants. Neither are they liable for electricity
bills once the tenant has vacated unless they
use any electricity (even the smallest amount).
This is relevant in the case of standing charges.
Utility providers will claim that a deemed
contract arises but this is only correct when the
landlord takes some action to confirm acceptance of the contract.: turning on a light for a few seconds will suffice. In the case of water bills there is a different scenario: the landlord is jointly and severally liable with the tenant UNLESS he notifies the water board at the start of the tenancy that the tenant is liable.

Yvette Newbury

21:08 PM, 22nd December 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony McVey" at "22/12/2013 - 19:29":

Can you explain a little more on why you don't believe that a landlord would be liable to pay for standing charges if a property is empty? How would it be affected if electricity is switched off at the mains in between tenants? Thank you

Jeremy Smith

12:42 PM, 23rd December 2013
About 7 years ago

We're not talking about after the tenant has left, it's the debt that the tenant has incurred whilst being there that is under discussion.

Of course, after the tenant has left, the landlord will be responsible for any services used, or standing charges that are applicable whilst the property is empty, up until a new tenant is found.
I don't know why tony would think otherwise.

Tony McVey

13:02 PM, 23rd December 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "22/12/2013 - 21:08":

There must exist a contractual agreement between the parties. One party
cannot impose contractual obligations on another without express or implied
acceptance by that other. Implied or "deemed" acceptance will take place
when that party does any act which could be interpreted as acceptance:
the use of even the smallest amount of electricity. If you perform no such
act then no obligations whatsoever to the utility provider will arise. This applies
to gas and electricity, but see my comment regarding water where statute has
overruled the common law position.

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