Non-payment of utility bills by tenants - rights to cut off meters

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    Non-payment of utility bills by tenants - rights to cut off meters

    Hello,
    Can anyone help me with a landlord/tenant/utility company question?

    With a tenanted property, if the tenant fails to pay for utilities and then leaves the property (untraced) does the utility company, whether it be gas or electric have the right to cut off the services to the landlords property?

    Can anyone point me to any guidance/rules or regs in relation to this?

    Your help would be much appreciated.
    Thanks.

    #2
    As far as I know, the utility "debt" is the tenant's debt. We had final demands and cut off letters for one of our ex-Ts, who we had no forwarding address for.

    I would just take the meter readings at the end of the tenancy, and pass these to the relevant companies, and they will employ their own tracing and debt collection services to find and chase the tenant for payment.

    I take it you gave meter readings at the start of the tenancy? If not, this may be more difficult, as not putting the bills in the tenant's name from the start, means you have to prove to the Utilities that you were not responsible for the bill during the time the tenant resided at the property. Usually a copy of the signed tenancy agreement showing relevant dates for start and end of the tenant's residence at the property will help.

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      #3
      Thanks for the prompt reply LesleyAnne.

      Meter readings supplied and AST available.

      For future reference can you direct me to any information/guidance/regs in respect of what rights the utility companies do have to disconnect supplies?

      For example, if a tenant did not pay the utility bills and during the period of the tenancy and the supplier successfully applied for a warrant which was executed and the gas/electricity suuply was disconnected from the property, what rights does a landlord have for re-connection at no cost, should he provide the AST?

      Thanks.

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        #4
        As LesleyAnne stated, the debt is with the individual and not the property.

        As a landlord, you just need to make sure the utility company is aware the tenant has gone. If they aren't informed, they may well take action.

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          #5
          Could you not recuperate re-connection cost out of the deposit?

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            #6
            I guess the kind of tenant who will get cut off will also leave owing rent and there may not be enough to cover everything. Having said this I do not think they cut off electricity these days - they get a court order and "break in" to install a pre-payment meter at a rate which also clears the debt over time. However the same question remains - how does the LL deal with this if the tenant then leaves?
            Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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              #7
              I think it is definitely a matter of keeping the lines of communication open with the utility companies and keeping them informed about what's going on.
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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