tenants defaulting on electricity bill, landlord ends up paying !

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    tenants defaulting on electricity bill, landlord ends up paying !

    Morning,

    I had been the landlord of a flat until around 2 years ago, when I sold it. The final tenant, after they had left and had their deposit returned, we found had not paid any electricity (or gas) bills throughout their tenancy. This did not come to light until a while after they left. These tenants are the sort who wouldn't bat an eyelid at not paying - they already have zero credit rating. BG came after me to pay !! Trying to reason with the on the phone was awful. They knew full well that the tenant was liable not me, but they would not admit this, their undeclared attitude seemed to be that if the tenant couldn't pay, they would make the landlord stump up ! I sent them the tenancy agreement and the agent sent them the tenancy contracts. After this, they seemed to go away, I presume to have a further go at getting the tenant to pay.

    Fast forward to now, and I have had a text from BG demanding that I pay ! They might have been sending letters to my old address, I don't know, I have since moved. Anyway this treatment by BG is dishonest and immoral, and I am wondering - is it legal !! The very fact that they have tried to get the tenant to pay, means that they know I am not liable.

    Is there some button I can press to stop this attack from BG !!?? is it legal ? They are of course threatening now immediately with bailiffs ! So I am probably going to have to pay today.



    #2
    Do not pay it. That presumes you can produce a tenancy agreement, and you informed them at the start of the tenancy as to who the liable party was.

    Comment


      #3
      If bailiffs are involved, it would normally indicate that they are executing a court order.
      Which would normally mean that things had got a long way past British Gas wanting you to pay.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        I suspect (but OP will tell us) it is just part of the threatening correspondence. We presume too that OP did not have a liability for the subsequent void that he failed to pay.

        Assuming it is all the liability of the tenant - it is hard to see how this would be a valid court order - the OP is not a relevant customer of BG, nor is he obliged to provide them with any form of address for service. The only individual against whom bailiffs should be able to act is the nonexistent person at the address for service relating to the court order. Otherwise I could sue any person with whom I have no legal association at all (like the parent of a debtor) at some random address which is not theirs and where they had no obligation or expectation to facilitate service of documents.

        Of course the details may differ. If it was a periodic tenancy for example things can become messy.

        Comment


          #5
          As an aside who was paying (or not paying) Council Tax during this period?

          Comment


            #6
            I most certainly wouldn't pay. How long was the tenancy and how much was the bill? Frankly I'm surprised BG didn't take further action against tenants while they were still in occupation. It's on them they let things get to this stage, something I'd most certainly point out to them. They're not taking the line of (perceived) least resistance by approaching you. Or it's possible this is just an error by someone.

            I would certainly lodge a formal complaint with them via their site in the first instance!

            Comment


              #7
              Unless the OP neglected to inform BG at the start and/or end of the tenancy and therefore IS liable.

              Comment


                #8
                Contact the ombudsman. I had a similar situation with BG a few years ago. I bought a repossession and every time I put money in the meter they stole 90% of it to pay the previous owner's debt. 3 times I contacted them and they promised to reset the meter but never did. The 4th time I rang the ombudsman and BG sorted it within a day. If BG was the only energy company left I would use candles before I gave them any money.

                Comment


                  #9
                  No way would i pay it, they are chancing their arm with the '' we will send in the boys '' threat, they can not either find the tenant or he is stone broke either way they see you as an easier target who they know can pay and where you are, call their bluff and ask them to show you the contract you agree to when they started supplying gas etc to you..... they can't of course, you are not their customer and you did not live in the flat your past tenant did, their customer. Its a scare tactic and i would not be falling for it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I side with DPT47. The OP is prob the person (owner) who signed the BG Contract for Supply so isl liable in Law esp if he failed to take meter readings at start of new T.
                    Normally, you cannot approach the Ombudsman before exhausting a Co's Complaints procedure.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You do have to wonder though what the electricity company was doing supplying somebody d for so long that hadn't paid

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thankyou all. You are all correct. Hudson01 hit it exactly. BG are not (yet) threatening a bailiff, they are merely threatening to pass it to a debt collection agency (my misinterpretation). After having written the original thread, I looked back at my records (my memory was hazy when I wrote yesterday). In 2016, I was repeatedly contacted aggressively by a debt collection agency, over exactly the same issue, and I sent them copies of letters from the letting agents specifying the meter readings, and the tenancy agreement. This would have been a cast iron case that the debt was the tenants responsibility (although to listen to the debt collection agency, you wouldn't think it, the immoral mealy mouthed *%%!!). So they went away. Fast forward to now, three years later ! BG have approached me again, asking me to pay !! So, I conclude that either BG are acutely incompetent, or, as Hudson01 says, they have tried to get the tenant to pay (she won't - that type of person doesn't care) but failed, so come after me in the full knowledge that the debt is not my responsibility, which is dishonest and immoral (and I'm surprised its not illegal). You bet, I am submitting a complaint ! BG make it very hard to give all such evidence, because of their 'you cant call us, we have to call you' policy.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Its normal for utility company to try and ask landlord to pay knowing they are not responsible for it.

                          As far as I am aware quite a few larger landlord usually just pay instead of making a fuss out of it, so it doesn't hurt for them to at least try to recover the debt.

                          It is immoral and they know they have no case, so usually when you call their bluff and ask to escalate the case to court they will back down immediately.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Is true when you think about it it if I was utility company I would just be firing of letters to tenants and landlord saying you have to pay the bill especially if I can't get hold of the tenants or or if I'm having difficulty getting full payment after them for me the cost is a couple of letters and a few emails

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by blinko View Post
                              Is true when you think about it it if I was utility company I would just be firing of letters to tenants and landlord saying you have to pay the bill especially if I can't get hold of the tenants or or if I'm having difficulty getting full payment after them for me the cost is a couple of letters and a few emails
                              This- Its the shotgun effect, send out enough letters with threats and maybe someone.... anyone, will pay. Just stand your ground and they will back down, i have had this in the past but its like water of a ducks back with me !

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X