Utilities liability – no contract?

Utilities liability – no contract?

by Readers Question

Guest Author

14:57 PM, 16th April 2018, About 6 years ago 13

Text Size

Do I need to pay the standing charge for electricity on an empty BTL when the previous tenant changed it without my permission and they do not have a contract with me.

It has never happened before. I told them by phone I did not want their service.

My supplier was British Gas and now EDF.

Many thanks


Share This Article


Ken Johns

9:42 AM, 17th April 2018, About 6 years ago

I may be wrong on this, but it does not matter which supplier you use they will all want some form of standing charge, even if it is a prepay meter.

Simon M

10:02 AM, 17th April 2018, About 6 years ago

If the previous tenant was paying for the electricity, they have the right to switch supplier. See Ofgem advice: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/how-switch-energy-supplier-and-shop-better-deal/how-switch-energy-supplier-if-you-re-tenant. This must mean you are liable to EDF until you switch.
You'll need light or heat to show new tenants round, and the cost isn't significant so I would just pay it and move on. Switch if you want to go back to BG. Or you could transfer to Eon Landlord's scheme and you won't be charged for up to a month while you find a new tenant.

Rob Crawford

11:28 AM, 17th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Hi Ken, be careful. If you advised them that you do not want their service they may cut you off. You would then have to pay a service provider to reconnect at some extortionate cost!

Dennis Forrest

17:57 PM, 17th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Some suppliers will supply electricity with a zero standing charge, albeit at a higher unit rate. The Which website lists about half a dozen, but 2 I have used myself for a holiday home are Ebico and Solarplicity.

21:45 PM, 17th April 2018, About 6 years ago

I currently have Utilita on a couple of mine.

Ken Johns

22:32 PM, 17th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 17/04/2018 - 11:28
Sorry, did not mean switch off, indeed the opposite. My point was that we have to pay electric companies standing charges during void periods

Colin Dartnell

9:51 AM, 18th April 2018, About 6 years ago

Hi Ken
Basically they have equipment in the property, meter and main fuse, so it is expected that they will want some kind of charge. All be it a small one.

brian clement

23:56 PM, 21st April 2018, About 6 years ago

are you planning on using any gas/elec while property is empty. if not - register contract in your name. contract starts when you start using energy (not when you register) so you wont pay any standing charge. if they try charging you contact them saying you are a landlord. property is empty and no elec/gas is being used at the address. its easy. don't worry about using a few lightbulbs to show people around. it wont show on the meter.


11:09 AM, 7th May 2021, About 3 years ago

When my last tenant moved out, my Letting Agent (LA) notified British Gas and gave them her (LA) address for billing. My property has been empty for 14 months and only recently have I been able to persuade anyone to go in to inspect and also do some decorating. There were 4 envelopes from BG with bills enclosed and only covering the past month or so.
I have now spoken (at great length) with BG as those bills were addressed to The Occupier and should have been sent to the Letting Agent. I accept that Standing Charges are still my responsibility but I am damned if I am going to pay for Late Fees and Debt Visits which occurred due to their admin error in not updating the account.
And now they want to install a Pay As You Go meter next week but they have jumped the gun (internally) and their website does not even show that I owe them any money let alone allowing me to pay them.
I have spent over 2 hours today on the telephone TO SOUTH AFRICA. So far I have spoken to FIVE people and been given the complete run around. I do not want a PAYG meter and the letter they sent says I have until 10th May to let them know that. They are just ignoring me.
I also need a new boiler. Ironically, on their website there is a link to get a quote; it does not work. How unsurprising. I certainly will not buy from BG, they are too unreliable if they cannot even deal with a simple phone call.
I am so angry right now.


12:18 PM, 7th May 2021, About 3 years ago

I've also read that a contract begins when you start using the supply. However, I'm not sure how sensitive the smart meters are and whether running a few light bulbs for a while and some hot water to wash your hands would be enough to register.

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