When a tenant dies his Utility Bills die with him?Make Text Bigger
Death is an unfortunate fact of life and occasionally a tenant passes away. Common sense dictates the Utility Company should just write off the bill, but no it puts the bill into the name of the Landlord. There then follows correspondence with threats of reporting to Credit Reference agencies. I have two current, with two separate Energy Suppliers, where they have put the bill of deceased tenants into the name of the Landlord (myself).
So what is the answer? There is an issue of Wasting Time and of Harassment. Keep all the letters and send a Letter Before Action claiming General Damages for up to £10,000.
You will need to be equipped with a copy of Lisa Ferguson v British Gas which you can look up on the Internet:
Reference Court: Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Judge: Sedley, Jacob, and Lloyd LJJ, Date of judgment: 10 Feb 2009
Summary: Harassment – Protection From Harassment Act 1997 – Companies – Corporate liability – Threats to customer – Course of conduct – Knowledge – Striking out.
You need to be equipped with a copy of The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which you can download from the Internet.
Write to the Chief Executive pointing out that Directors are now responsible for the actions of their employees. Also the Company is Vicariously Responsible for the actions of its Debt Collectors.
It is important that you ask for a Subject Access Report (SAR) which may be referred to as a Data Subject Access Report (DSAR). It is the same thing. Ask for SAR from both the Utility Company and Debt Collector. There is no charge. Keep a note of the time you spend on a Spreadsheet. You can claim £19 a hour under the High Court Rate for Litigants in Person (LIPs).
The Utility may seek to fob you off with a Deadlock Letter. That means they will not pursue you further, but will not remove the debt from their books, and will report the Landlord to Credit Reference Agencies so as to prevent the Landlord from obtaining further mortgages.
If and when the Energy Supplier removes the Debt then immediately switch the supplier to a different energy Supplier because if you do not the Debt will be put in the next tenant’s name and if they have a key meter (electricity) or quantum meter (Gas) the key will be loaded to recover the deceased tenant’s debt.
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