Another bills question....

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    Another bills question....

    I was just wondering how other landlords go about arranging tenants to setup up bills.

    for example, do you leave it up to the tenants to arrange all there utilty bills and provide readings. Although i have ask the tenants to setup bills with npower, which have good rates on dual fuel in the area, they could realy setup with any company and i wouldnt know?

    Also do you as the landlord inform:
    council tax
    water
    phone company
    electric
    gas

    When a new tenant moves out, and an new tenant moves in?

    Craig

    #2
    You can recommend a utility supplier but you can't impose one on your tenants unless the bills are in your nme and the utility costs are included in the rent. They also do not have to tell you who their suppliers are.

    Would you expect your mortgage company to tell you who to use, or advise them if youl'd used someone else? same difference.

    As for advising the utility companies, how could you advise any (except perhaps c/tax and water authority) if you don't know who the tenants will be using?

    Originally posted by craig
    I was just wondering how other landlords go about arranging tenants to setup up bills.

    for example, do you leave it up to the tenants to arrange all there utilty bills and provide readings. Although i have ask the tenants to setup bills with npower, which have good rates on dual fuel in the area, they could realy setup with any company and i wouldnt know?

    Also do you as the landlord inform:
    council tax
    water
    phone company
    electric
    gas

    When a new tenant moves out, and an new tenant moves in?

    Craig
    Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

    Comment


      #3
      It's quite simple: for council tax, a letter informing the council tax office that a tenant has moved out, and that the premises are unfurnished should get you your 6 months exemption. Another letter is needed when the new tenant moves in. Do not get involved with telephones - merely ask the outgoing tenant to have it cut off when they leave. For all utilities, agree meter readings with outgoing tenant when they hand back the keys and you do your final inspection. Notify the appropriate companies of these and where to send their bills to during the void period by telephone. Repeat the excercise when handing over the property to your new tenant.

      P.P.
      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

      Comment


        #4
        But you are inferring that a LL has the right to tell a tenant which utility company to use and that isn't the case

        Originally posted by P.Pilcher
        It's quite simple: for council tax, a letter informing the council tax office that a tenant has moved out, and that the premises are unfurnished should get you your 6 months exemption. Another letter is needed when the new tenant moves in. Do not get involved with telephones - merely ask the outgoing tenant to have it cut off when they leave. For all utilities, agree meter readings with outgoing tenant when they hand back the keys and you do your final inspection. Notify the appropriate companies of these and where to send their bills to during the void period by telephone. Repeat the excercise when handing over the property to your new tenant.

        P.P.
        Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

        Comment


          #5
          I would agree with Mr Pilcher but would add a few things (based on experience):

          Council tax notification can often be done over the phone. My experience of council tax offices are that they are very efficient and type the info into the system whilst you are on the phone, which means it's updated then and there and there's no risk of a letter going astray. As Pilcher says, if the property is unfurnished you will be exempt from council tax in the between-lets period. They will ask you if there is any furniture in the property at all. It's important to be clear on this as if you say 'only a dining table', for example, this counts as furnished. Any stick of furniture and you will pay the full tax.

          With regard to utilities, I take 2 copies of a pre-prepared form with me when I do the checkout and key collection with the first tenant, and again when I do the handover to the new tenant. It has on it:
          Property address, date, tenant's name, details of keys given/handed back, instruction booklets present in property, meter readings for gas, elec & water, and if they are moving out then the damage noted.
          I fill in the meter readings there and then with the tenant (so they know where all their meters are), leave them with a meter key (can be ordered cheaply from www.romark.co.uk if you are ordering a few) and they keep one form, I keep the other. From experience if the tenant does decide to change utility supplier there can sometimes be arguments & mistakes over incorrect start readings. I've had it a few times and as the landlord, although the bill is not in your name, you still get involved to verify the correct readings otherwise you can end up with disgruntled new tenants receiving threats of disconnection fron their supplier (had one of those only last month....). So keep the readings on file, even when the tenant is long gone....
          I then ring through the readings to the utility company myself, usually because I will have been responsible for the bill for the few empty days between lets and I need my final bill. Although the tenant should also call themselves, with the confusion of moving and boxes everywhere it is not their priority and they often lose their meter reading sheet!
          Do the whole procedure properly and the tenant gets the impression that you are prepared, professional and know exactly what you are doing. Which can never be a bad thing...

          Comment


            #6
            LMT - Im sorry but I have to disagree about the efficiency or oherwise of local authorities. I have tried telephoning them and although they always appear to be helpful and co-operative they merely fail to act on anything you tell them ....... unless it is to their benefit! So tell'em that a tenant has moved out and the place is unfurnished - they will continue to demand council tax. Having obtained your exemption, just whisper over the telephone that a new tenant has moved in and council tax invoices and associated ephemera will launch themselves through the post ceasessly and with immediate effect!

            To be fair, the councils I deal with do seem to like completed forms on file with regard to this - possibly for the innumerable audits and checks that lower council officials have to endure as an every day occurence. Thus a letter on file fulfills this requirement so by using this approach I never seem to have much trouble.

            P.P.
            Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

            Comment


              #7
              You cannot force your new tenant to use the supplier that you choose, however when they first begin the tenancy they will be using the supplier already appointed and these are the companies you should inform.

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with PP. I recently had an empty property and told the Local Authority that it was uninhabitable and empty as I was replacing the kitchen and bath. They confirmed over the phone that no council tax was payable and said they would put a note on file. Of course I subsequently received a CT bill, and had to inform them of details again. I wrote to the LA a short while later, informing them that I had spent man hours and office costs in re-informing them and I asked who to send the bill to. They sent back the info I requested.

                I never got around to sending a bill, although it does make you wonder whether they would have not turned a hair and simply paid up! Maybe these companies, that are contracted by LAs to supply services such as CT admin, are just used to working in a commercial environment where everything has to be accounted for and paid for..

                Comment


                  #9
                  Just in case I didn't make myself clear on this point, I have never suggested that I can insist which utility supplier a tenant uses. I always tell them who it is and that they are at liberty to change if they wish. Apart from the tenant who can, or thinks he can get a better deal from a different supplier, I have had one or two recently who have changed because the supplier at their previous property was holding a large credit balance on their account. Naturally they wanted to change to the supplier concerned to use the credit balance as they got, I understand, a better deal than they would by requesting a refund.

                  P.P.
                  Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

                  Comment

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