Liability for utility bill between tenants

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  • zanorias
    started a topic Liability for utility bill between tenants

    Liability for utility bill between tenants

    I moved into a house as a tenant a few months ago. I began renting on 6th October but due to a crossover period between houses I didn't move in until 20th. On 20th when I moved in I took meter readings and set up a new account for gas & electricity with the supplier. The supplier has now contacted the landlord asking for overdue payment of gas & electricity for period 20th September (when I assume the previous tenant closed his account) to 20th October (when I set up a new one). Who would be liable for the utility bill during this period? Some of it covers my official tenancy as I was paying rent though it was before I moved in. The bill is £62 so quite excessive for a months empty house (heating was on frost only) so I'm wondering if perhaps the previous tenant didn't provide accurate readings and hence a larger gap in the readings and thus larger bill was made.

    I haven't yet been asked to pay this bill however I'm anticipating I may be asked to so would ideally like to know whether I should contest it or if I am liable. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.

  • buzzard1994
    replied
    Originally posted by zanorias View Post

    Indeed, there was no inventory at all. I was surprised at this considering the agents are quite big in this part of the country, but they said the LL manages the property, so perhaps it was their decision not to have an inventory. How this is beneficial to them I'm yet to discover 🤔
    It is not beneficial. Only a fool lets a property without a detailed inventory.

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  • MdeB
    replied
    Originally posted by buzzard1994 View Post

    Tenant didnt move in at the start of the contract.and presumably didnt sign an inventory then either.
    I was responding to your assertion on "sensible landlords", not the specifics of this case.

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  • zanorias
    replied
    Originally posted by buzzard1994 View Post

    Tenant didnt move in at the start of the contract.and presumably didnt sign an inventory then either.
    Indeed, there was no inventory at all. I was surprised at this considering the agents are quite big in this part of the country, but they said the LL manages the property, so perhaps it was their decision not to have an inventory. How this is beneficial to them I'm yet to discover 🤔

    Leave a comment:


  • buzzard1994
    replied
    Originally posted by MdeB View Post

    Really?

    I have the figures recorded on the inventory at start and end of tenancy and tenant's signature against each.
    Tenant didnt move in at the start of the contract.and presumably didnt sign an inventory then either.

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  • MdeB
    replied
    Originally posted by buzzard1994 View Post
    Sensible landlords have photos of the meter.
    Really?

    I have the figures recorded on the inventory at start and end of tenancy and tenant's signature against each.

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  • buzzard1994
    replied
    You are liable for, and should pay, costs from when you took over the tenancy. If you go on holiday you dont expect the landlord to pay your bills when you are away! However you are not liable before your tenancy started and unless the landlord has proof of meter readings on that day they will have to apportion the charge and agree something fair.

    Sensible landlords have photos of the meter.

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  • sam_cat
    replied
    As a landlord I have a form in the check in pack where we take all the meter readings (Gas, electric, water and Solar generation). 2x copies, both signed by both parties. and photos with datetime stamp.
    On move out pretty much as soon as they are out/gone I go and take further set of readings along with photos, these are forwarded to the tenant (email/txt) and we phone the utilities that day/next day to confirm handover to myself and give final readings. I also confirm in writing with the utilities the same (handover to me on X date, final reading taken on Y day at Z time of XXXXXXX, photo attached).

    No problems so far, keeps it as transparent as it can be.

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  • zanorias
    replied
    Thanks all, will keep this in consideration. In hindsight it does make more sense to take the readings on tenancy commencement to keep things clear.

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  • jpucng62
    replied
    You are responsible from the date of your tenancy but if your landlord can't supply readings it will be difficult to know who is liable for how much. Your landlord may just pay the bill but otherwise you could offer to pay half as your tenancy began half way through the billing period. In the meantime check you are on the cheapest tariff by using an online comparison site & change supplier &/or tariff to a cheaper one if necessary.

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  • Hollywood
    replied
    I think you are responsible from and should have taken meter readings from 6th Oct as that is when tenancy started. although you did not use any power because you were living elsewhere, there is still the standing charge to pay.
    The landlord ,check in should also have taken reading that day to agree with new tenant.

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  • sam_cat
    replied
    I would say you are liable from the date you moved in/took possession. The meter readings you took, did you take pictures with date/time stamp? Did landlord record the same readings on check-in report?
    The landlord/agent should have taken readings on check out (same/next day as Tenant leaves) and on your check-in. LL is liable for the bills in the 'void'.

    If asked to pay the bill I would stand my ground.. 'Not my bill, I wasn't in possession, as soon as I moved in I took readings and moved the bills over to me'.

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