Help - evicted tenant leaves a nasty surprise behind

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    Help - evicted tenant leaves a nasty surprise behind

    My tenant was evicted back in April of this year after a lengthy period.
    Besides this trauma, the problems continue.

    My new agent has emptied the letterbox and found a number of concerning items. One is the matter of a court summons for unpaid council tax. I have since taken over the council tax from the day of eviction so that is settled.

    However, more of concern is the electricity account of £2500 (!) which is in the tenants name - the account holder who accrued the debt. This was from March.

    Later, in April, was a letter from them threatening court action (a warrant) addressed to 'The Occupier' to install a pay as you go smart electric meter. I am informed this is the equivalent of a coin operated type meter (put more money in the meter!) BUT I am also told that the outstanding debt will be paid off incrementally over the future as the user puts in money.

    Given that this is my property and that it will lower its value I have all sorts of objections.

    Do I need a solicitor to fight this?

    To note, this news of the mailbox came late this evening and I have not verified that the meter has yet been installed. I suspect not. Will know for sure tomorrow morning.

    Thoughts and ideas from anyone on this? Thank you - I know there is a wealth of knowledge on these forums.

    PS The new agent replaces the previous one, obviously, who has dropped the ball on every possible occasion over the last two years.

    #2
    I am not in the country so only hear of these things through agents.

    Comment


      #3
      If the electricity bill in the tenants name, it is in his name nothing to do with you. However you are responsible for the electricity since eviction - has anybody took the settings?

      Comment


        #4
        Yes, I have the meter readings via the agent. They were given this information by email but have not responded.
        The issue though is the installation of the Pay as you Go meter, which is their way of recouping the debt. My objection is that it is my property and is vacant and this would surely affect the value of the property.
        I will know more tomorrow. Just reacting now and wondering of the legal implications.

        Comment


          #5
          They can't change the meter unless someone let them on. They can't legally force you or your tenants to pay someone else's debt. Try the energy ombudsman if you get stuck.
          I bought a property where the previous occupant had run up a £1.5k debt, prepayment meter already installed, every time I topped it up they nicked some to pay the debt. Complained 3 times but nothing happened, contacted the ombudsman and they sorted it that day.

          Comment


            #6
            I have had prepayment meters before and they were not a massive problem. As long as a future tenant can pass the required credit checks they should be able to get a credit meter installed (if they want one, which seems likely).

            When it happened to me, I let the property with a prepayment meter and left it for the tenants to choose their supplier and request a credit meter if they wanted one. Suggest you ask your agent how much effect they think a prepayment meter will have on demand.

            If a prepayment meter does get installed, it should of course start with a zero balance.

            Contact the electricity supplier and make sure that they have the correct date and meter reading for the point you became liable for usage. Utility suppliers can be very hard work so you may have to repeat yourself and/or state the obvious. Your tenants debts are not your responsibility.

            Would be worth trying to explain to them that there is no point in installing a prepayment meter now, since the debtor is no longer the account holder.
            There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

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              #7
              It's August soon, why have you waited until now to do anything.

              You should write "not Email" Final meter reading tenant evicted, Copy of evicted tenant's tenancy agreement and copy of possession order showing the date they were evicted to the utilities supplier showing them they no longer live there at that address and do this yourself ASAP.

              See if that stops them fitting a PPM

              If a Smets 2 smart meter is fitted , they can be switched remotely from Pre payment to normal month billing ...
              Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by 45002 View Post
                It's August soon, why have you waited until now to do anything.
                A very good question. As I don't live in the country, I rely on an agent, which has been a problem all along. I have since appointed a competent one, who immediately showed his competence by looking at the mailbox and letting me know the situation.

                Comment


                  #9
                  You need or agent to do what I suggested in post #7 ASAP and see if that stop them changing meter.

                  As it August soon, it wouldn't surprise me if utilities supplier have already obtained warrant of entry and are going to fit meter ?
                  Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Pay as you go meters will not reduce the value of the property and some tenants like them as it helps them to budget.

                    When one is fitted to a property any credit added to it (usually now done online) will partly put credit on for usage and will partly pay off the debt. If you or your next tenant are not careful you will find that you are paying off the debt as many utility companies are not above leaving the debt on the meter and some people never realise what is happening. If they install a smart meter it should be clear on the meter what is happening but in any case you need to ensure that the meter is reset and the debt follows the old tenant. Why they let people get so far in debt before taking action is beyond me, but this situation is perfectly manageable. Just be sure you have a clear paper trail of who was responsible when and it should all be fine.

                    By the way, C Tax debt is, I believe, the only debt that can result in a custodial sentence!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Try and change suppliers.
                      The outgoing supplier will do everything that they can to prevent this (the automated routes won't work), but they'll have to do it eventually.
                      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


                        #12
                        First thing to do is inform each debtor that the tenant has vacated, provide any new address details if you have them (telling the ex-t via email you have a parcel for them is a good way to get this lol). Then outright refuse to discuss any debts related to the previous tenant. Nothing to do with you and not your responsibility. Do this in writing, via recorded delivery and keep copies of the letters.

                        Point out that installing a PPM will cost them time and money, and won't work because they can't deduct ongoing payments, as the debtor is gone. They can't tax the next tenant or you because someone else didn't pay. And then move to a new provider with your latest meter readings.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hello

                          I also received electricity and gas bills for the former tenant but I have not opened the envelopes. Is it OK to open them ? I have no forwarding address. I closed his accounts and opened new accounts in my name but am now worried that the supplier will transfer the debt to me. I understood from the messages above that it is best to change the supplier ?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It's helpful to change the supplier (but if there's a debt it's not always possible).

                            The supplier can't transfer the debt to you, they can always try, but you can stop them,
                            It's quite common for a tenant to give a lower than accurate meter reading which can mean that the tenant can transfer some of their debt on to you.

                            I find it's easier to send the unopened envelopes back to the supplier.
                            They'll have a process for that, while you opening them doesn't really help either of you (other landlords do things differently).
                            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


                              #15
                              You can try and move suppliers

                              But the utilities supplier who debt is with, can block any move to a new supplier until the debt is sorted out, especially if the debt is more than 28 days old and a large amount like OP's post of £2,500.
                              Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

                              Comment

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