Communal lighting issue

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    Communal lighting issue

    Hi all,

    I own and rent out the ground floor flat of a building that has one other flat upstairs.

    It has come to light, that the original owner of the upstairs flat had installed a third "landlord's" meter to provide light for the single light in the hallway downstairs. I was not informed of this despite already owning the property when this was set up. Conversely I was never approached by the upstairs owner to pay anything towards this.

    She sold up in 2017, closed her Scottish Power account and despite this, since then the bill has been racking up with Scottish Power. This only came to light this month when myself and the new landlord of the upstairs flat were told that bailiffs came knocking on the door and that there were loads of red letters for the previous owner.

    There is now an outstanding bill of several hundred pounds that needs to be paid before anyone can do anything, except that Scottish Power won't do anything without the authorization of the previous owner even though she closed the account down in 2017! I feel that I should have been informed about the meter and the account when she opened it in 2014 and am annoyed that I could bear the brunt of this even though I effectively had nothing to do with this.

    Does anyone have any thoughts, comments or suggestions or worse, experience of this and what might be a best course of action?

    Thank you!

    #2
    The debt isn't in your name so don't pay it.

    Comment


      #3
      Current LL(s) liable for any usage since account closed,
      OP can sue T for any relevent costs

      Comment


        #4
        I cang see how any part of this bill can be yours. Who has said you should pay?

        Comment


          #5
          Utility contracts are created on a deemed use basis.
          I can't imagine anyone can be liable unless they own the meter - so, I imagine, the first time power was used after the account had closed, the meter owner became liable.

          I've never understood how you can "use" a standing charge (if there is one), but the utility company seem to think that simply being in control of a meter makes you liable for the standing charge from day 1.
          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


            #6
            Originally posted by mariner View Post
            Current LL(s) liable for any usage since account closed,
            OP can sue T for any relevent costs
            By OP, do you mean me?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
              I cang see how any part of this bill can be yours. Who has said you should pay?
              Well Scottish Power is saying someone has to pay and they suggesting that's the current landlords which is me and the other flat owner. They absolutely won't make any changes like removing it, switching supply off or anything because our names weren't on the original account before it was closed. It just doesn't make sense!

              Comment


                #8
                you aren't liable. For the sake of one bulb just spur off your flat with a maintained bulkhead, more cost effective than a landlords account. A manintained common parts light is one with a rechargeable battery which will come on in a power failure. If however you let your flat to a council or housing association they will demand a landlords account for the staircase lighting

                Comment


                  #9
                  jpkeates,

                  Some are suggesting that because myself and the other owner are now the landlord's, we inherit that meter even though when we bought our properties we were never made aware of it or, in my case, consulted before it was installed. I don't understand why they didn't just stop supplying power after 3 months of not being paid!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Shalanne View Post
                    Some are suggesting that because myself and the other owner are now the landlord's, we inherit that meter even though when we bought our properties we were never made aware of it or, in my case, consulted before it was installed.
                    I don't really understand how that works.
                    Are you and the "other landlord" landlord leaseholders and, together, the freeholder?
                    Why is the "other landlord" not the owner of upstairs and you the owner of downstairs?

                    Who is responsible for the bill would be determined by the location of the meter.
                    The contract with the supplier is created as soon as power is consumed (although standing charged confuse me on that basis).

                    So one or both of you are definitely liable.

                    Your knowledge of the meter isn't an issue.

                    I don't understand why they didn't just stop supplying power after 3 months of not being paid!
                    There are quite complicated rules about utility companies cutting off power.
                    And, as above, someone is liable for the bill.
                    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


                      #11
                      Utility companies are not allowed to cut people off in case it causes undue hardship.

                      When a tenant moves into a property that become liable for the usage on a deemed contract even if they don’t open an account. I would suggest that the occupants are liable for the usage.

                      From a practical point of view, I would first check the bill to see if the billed amount is correct - there can’t have been much usage from one hall light.

                      I also thought that a utility company can only bill for 12 months.

                      I would then open a complaint with Scottish Power and if the issue cant be resolved to your satisfaction, you can go to the Ombudsman for adjudication. I would argue that as both flats are (presumably) paying a standing charge, to pay another one for one bulb is excessive. Offer to pay for the last years usage, ask them to remove the meter and light the area off one of the flats.

                      good luck

                      Comment


                        #12
                        A 5 watt Led Bulb (more than enough to light a hall) left on 24/7 365 days a year will use 43.8kwh/year at less than £10.

                        Suggest you spin one off your flat, share the £10 with the other flat, and tell them to get lost. They can remove the meter if they like - it's not yours. And shift your own supplies to a different company.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Shalanne View Post
                          It just doesn't make sense!
                          Hello Shalanne

                          This 3rd party meter for a single light in the hallway downstairs who actually installed it ?

                          Was it previous LL and a electrician ?

                          Or was it installed one of the uk utilities suppliers at the request of this former LL ?

                          On UK utilities meters there is a "Electric meter number" that has to match the same number on a utilities bill, do you know which bill this meter this number matches ?
                          Thunderbirds are go

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Just my opinion.

                            Scottish Power accounts department hasn't got a clue about anything but direct debits and smart meters and couldn't organise ceilidh in a distillery.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Shalanne View Post

                              Well Scottish Power is saying someone has to pay and they suggesting that's the current landlords which is me and the other flat owner. They absolutely won't make any changes like removing it, switching supply off or anything because our names weren't on the original account before it was closed. It just doesn't make sense!
                              What's the problem, if they are not going to make any changes or cut you off. Just leave it in previous tenant's name . Bailiffs or CCJ's can't be entered in your name unless you have the account so not your liabilty.

                              Comment

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