Tenant running out on utility bills

by Readers Question

11:43 AM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

Tenant running out on utility bills

Make Text Bigger
Tenant running out on utility bills

I rented my property and once the tenant moved out she left owing nearly £700 in utility bills.

She contacted the gas company and said she was just renting a room from me and that I was responsible for the bills.

This of course wasn’t true, this has gone on for over 2 years, she has disappeared and I’m pretty sure she will do the same again as I have found out she had done the same at a property prior to renting mine.

What can I do?

Many thanks

Stuart



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:48 AM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

Hi Stuart,

Can I ask if you did/sent a meter reading before the tenant moved in and informed the utility companies?

Do you have any forwarding or family or work addresses to track down the tenant and I am assuming there was a tenancy agreement?

Mark Chamberlain

12:36 PM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

Hi Stuart

You need to contact the Utility suppliers and explain that she was liable for the bills, send them the Tenancy Agreement confirming this and make sure they change the accounts into her name. This ensures their contract is between them and her plus it should prevent them coming to the property to install credit meters to claw back the debt from you.
Assuming your TA has the relevant clauses, you can forward any contact details you have for her to them to chase.

Good luck

tony tony

12:54 PM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

Surely if you gave a tenancy agreement it would prove that they were renting the house and not a room ,as the agreement would state that ? woudn't it ?

Puzzler

17:03 PM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

Weren't the accounts tranasferred into her name?

Hamish McBloggs

18:17 PM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

Hi,
We have had this a couple of times. On one occasion the power company refused to hand back control as the amount owed was too high and they didn't believe that I wasn't the tenant. It took my passport, a copy of the deeds, the original tenancy agreement and a letter from my solicitor. (The power company eventually paid my solicitor's bill)

I thought it was only possible to seek assurances from tenants that they are paying their bills. Us landlords have no right to pry and if we contact the power company they shouldn't tell us anything - data protection act.

However I discovered a few years ago that we can ask to become an additional name on the account (I think that's what it is called), the tenant must request this and the landlord can make the tenancy agreement conditional on this. The landlord is not liable for the bills, the landlord can monitor the general 'health' of the tenant's account without breaching confidences.

Unfortunately I don't think this solves any problems. There seems to be a pretty limitless supply of tenants who buy Christmas presents first and only openly realise there's no rent money when the landlord 'gets a bit funny'. I have my own children, do we have to act in loco parentis for tenants too?

There, I've done it. I mentioned Christmas. Only 89 days to go.

Hamish McBloggs

18:18 PM, 26th September 2017
About A year ago

I just spoke to SSE, it's called 'Third Party User'

ttfn


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Patrick Collinson has got it wrong yet again!

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More