Tenants left with electric meter broken?

Tenants left with electric meter broken?

11:30 AM, 21st December 2022, About A year ago 12

Text Size

I had tenants move out with no notice, and no keys returned.  Eventually, I decided they were not coming back as they cancelled the Council Tax and I was told they had been given a council property.

The gas and electric meter are key top-up payment types and the gas is a top-up card. I have realised now both are not actually working, and can not be topped up, although Gas and Electric are actually on, meaning they had free utilities for god knows how long when they were tenants.

A letter has now arrived saying energy has been used at the property but no payment has been made to cover it.

Their options in the letter are: In 28 days time providing the property is still supplied by E energy, we will investigate one or more of the below

* Instruct a representative to call to carry out a revenue inspection investigation
* Recover through an alternative meter
* Disconnect supply

Any ideas on what to do? can I change providers?
Any suggestions would be appreciated


Share This Article


Reluctant Landlord

8:45 AM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

call your supplier - explain the situation. Offer to send them a copy of the TA to prove they were in occupation from X date to X date. Tell them to send out a meter engineer but you dont want the supply disconnecting (as you will have to probably pay for re-connection as the void period will shift the account into your name). If they have tampered with it somehow then they will have to make it safe or fit a new one I expect anyway. At least that way you are clear for the next tenant. It also means they may well then push for criminal charges, so they will need all the info you can give them.

If you have evidence that they have stopped paying their CT and have moved then let the utility company have this too. You have nothing to hide after all.

Also inform the Council Housing Department. They may have only been given temp accommodation so awaiting assessment to be given a council house so they will very much welcome this info - especially if they have lied to get on the list to get council help. It wont be looked at lightly and they may well be dropped off the list completely if the council has no duty towards them.

Its unusual for anyone just to get given council accommodation - usually there has to be a very good case for it, unless they have been on a waiting list for many many years and suddenly something has become available.

The Council wait till the very last moment to have to take on a housing duty, even if they have one - and often they will wait for the LL to get the bailiffs in first. You don't say you evicted them, so if they just left and got a council property, this makes me suspicious....

Reluctant Landlord

8:47 AM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

it takes weeks to get switched to another supplier anyway. Sort this out first with the current supplier as not to complicate the matter further , then if need be switch after.

Martin Roberts

9:36 AM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

I would be very wary taking possession if they have not given notice or returned the keys, even if they have moved their furniture out.

They may say they were just on holiday and you took possession illegally.

I think a Court Order is required, but I would at least get legal advice.


10:05 AM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

The tenants may have left the property but the tenancy has not ended. The tenancy agrement is a private contract between tenant and Landlord NOBODY else has any reght to determine the tenancy save the court. Provided that your AST continues as a Contractual Periodic tenancy the tenants are still responsible for the council tax and all the utilities although as a responsible landlord you should assist the utilitiy companies in resolving any issues.

Reluctant Landlord

10:10 AM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Roberts at 22/12/2022 - 09:36
agree in principle, but it there is evidence for example from the Council themselves to day they have now housed these tenants (OP says the council confirmed this and has proof of them cancelling their CT??), then that goes beyond just the possible question of possible 'abandonment' surely - its not in the realms of beyond reason that they have left (after getting word the utility company is on their back for non payment??)


15:31 PM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

If the tenancy has become a periodic - the Tenant should give 1 month notice (if rent is monthly). Until the end of the notice or the date of the Court ruling - the Council Tax and the Utilities standing charges are on the Tenant.
1.Inform the Insurer about the vacant property.
2.Call the Utilities about the damaged equipment.
3.Report damages to the Police.
4.Write to the C.Tax with the scan of the Tenancy Agreement and ask to relieve you from responsibility for C.Tax until the end of the notice. The Tenant can always take you to the Court for up to the 75% street value of the property for the illegal eviction (announcing a movement to a new address to the Local Council, confirmed to you by the C.Tax in writing, is only part of the combined evidences of the property been vacated). Shelter: "Surrender does not occur when the tenant leaves the property without giving notice to the landlord, even if that absence is for a long period and rent is owing".
5.Write to the Utilities with the scan of the Tenancy Agreement and the meter readings, asking to keep the Tenant responsible for the standing charges (as well as the cumulated expenses). Winter time house is to be heated on the minimum to prevent the rise of the mould or damaging pipes - even in the absence of the Tenant. Hence it is on the Tenant as well. If you need to repair damages - hire the electric generator / power-bank / use the charged tools and bring own water.
6.Apply to the Court or arrange with the Tenant (use the Experts in Address Tracing as little as £30) the mutually agreed Surrender (with the keys) by the written note, signed by the Landlord/Agent and the Tenant and counter-signed by the 2 unrelated witnesses. The later is preferable as the chances to get compensation for damages/rent is zero. It can be a bargaining point - to wave all that in exchange for the written confirmation of surrendering (the sooner it is signed, the shorter is the Tenant's responsibility for the Utilities Standing charges and possibly for the second home C.Tax: normally the C.Tax and H.Benefits people should consent in advance to bridge the move).
7.Inform the C.Tax and the Utilities, that you re-gain the responsibility (with the scan of the signed Note of Surrender / Court order).
P.S. Unfortunatelly, notifying the Council of the ASB can lead to the refusing the Council to allocate the Council Property and them returning to your House. As well, doing that a wrong way, - could lead to your prosecution for breaching the confidentiality (damages could be done by the intruders, for example).

John Frith

16:47 PM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

I was in your situation once and the utility company wouldn't connect electricity until I (read: anyone) paid them for a new meter, as once a meter is compromised they won't do a repair and they insist on a new meter.
I felt they had me over a barrel as I wanted to let the property with utilities connected so I paid up - from memory it was over £500 and that was several years ago.
If the property is tenanted, then you could argue that they can't expect you to pay, though you might find, as I did, that you want to move on more than you want the money.

Peter Lassman

23:48 PM, 22nd December 2022, About A year ago

I hate to be the one to say it but this is precisely why I and many other Landlords only have Student let’s through an Agent with Guarantors, most Landlords at some time have had this type of issue and the Courts DO NOTHING which is why it still goes on 😡Yes there are Very Good PRS Tenants but I’m finding they are so few nowadays that I will never Rent to Private Tenants again. I retire soon and I’d tether close the Business early then have the Stress and problems associated with these Bad Tenants. It really is up to the Government and then the Courts to decide if many Landlord’s remain Landlords by Being fair to us all 😎


15:11 PM, 23rd December 2022, About A year ago

ive had this s number of times over the years i did a abandonment notice although that does not exist in law but your stuck your supposed to send to the empty house a section 8 or 21 notice wait untill it expires then take them to court waiting months then with the court order get bailiffs to enter the house in the eyes of the law you could send 6 months or more before your are allowed to enter your own property the whole thing is a joke for tenants who just move out without a care in the world Im so glad i gave up this silly game. and now there wanting more tenant rights.once aging the law is a joke

Paul Power

19:35 PM, 24th December 2022, About A year ago

Is there an argument that the "broken meter" could risk the safety of the property? Is it inside or outside? Can you get confirmation of tampering from utilities company? If so would it be reasonable to carry out due diligence checks to ensure the safety of the property? (Not unreasonable based on meter tampering).
Also how much are the utilities chasing for? I'm assuming it's relatively normal or you would have mentioned if it's immense check the loft space if you have it.

1 2

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now