Proof of bills paid - early deposit release

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    Proof of bills paid - early deposit release

    Hi all

    I have a tenant due to move out next month, and she has asked if I would return her deposit early (after inspection of the property). She keeps the flat in a beautiful condition, and I have no cause for concern around property damage.

    However, I have asked her (as per the contract) to provide me with evidence that all bills are in credit before the deposit is returned, to ensure no problems for future tenants. She is being awkward about this and keeps telling me how she's an excellent tenant and can't believe that I don't trust her.

    I appreciate I hold all the cards, and I don't need to return the deposit until she moves out, but does anyone have any experience of handling this type of situation?

    Thanks

    #2
    Do not pay the deposit back early.

    In regards to the bills.
    Call the utility company on the day of move out when you have the keys back from the tenant(in the presence of the tenant if possible), and give them the meter readings.

    Problem solved?
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by thesaint View Post
      Do not pay the deposit back early.

      In regards to the bills.
      Call the utility company on the day of move out when you have the keys back from the tenant(in the presence of the tenant if possible), and give them the meter readings.

      Problem solved?
      Thanks for your reply; I suppose I was thinking less of gas and electricity, and more of council tax, Sky bills etc., and they will only speak to the account holder.

      My suggestion was that in order to release the deposit early, if the tenants could "pre pay" these bills and give me evidence that all bills were in credit, then I could release the deposit at that stage.

      Thanks

      Comment


        #4
        I dont see how you can legal withhold money from the deposit,when the gas and electricity, and more of council tax, Sky bills etc are a private matter between the tenant and them.

        If the tenant doesn't pay the bills,it's up to gas,electricity,council,Sky to chase the tenant,not the LL.
        Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

        Comment


          #5
          Hi.
          I actually have this written into my contract now. That the deposit will not be released until full evidence that utility bills have been paid in full. Otherwise you can come across a situation where the tenant leaves without paying bills. I know these (as the law stands today) are still the responsibility of the tenant and the outstanding bill follows the tenant BUT Yorkshire water are trying to get this overturned so that the debt stays with the property. If they succeed then the other energy bills will follow.
          If she has been a good tenant, I cannot see why she is creating such a fuss. I would turn this around and ask her if she has a problem with it? You know she has been an amazing tenant and have no doubt that she is all up to date but you just need to cover your back and you are sure she will understand....
          Another thing as a back up is to make sure that you send a cheque for the return of the deposit to her forwarding address only. Not to parents/friends house. This will ensure that you have the true forwarding address so that you can send any post/letters/bills to her new property. Again - covering your back.
          Hope this is helpful.
          Regards,
          Amanda

          Comment


            #6
            For what it is worth the OFT's guidance says that the following is an unfair term:

            To provide to the landlord or the agent receipts in respect of all water gas electricity and telephone services as evidence of payment up to the date of termination before the deposit is refunded.

            and recommends the following:

            Before the deposit is refunded by the agent on behalf of the landlord, the tenant must be able to demonstrate that bills for charges for water, gas, electricity and telephone services, for which he is liable for the duration of the tenancy, have been paid.

            I confess I am having some difficulty in seeing any practical difference between the two.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Laurasplog View Post
              Thanks for your reply; I suppose I was thinking less of gas and electricity, and more of council tax, Sky bills etc., and they will only speak to the account holder.
              Then the tenant can call them in front of you.
              You would need to inform the council tax dept irrespective of whether they have or not anyway.

              I don't think it fair to expect to see evidence of payment, just to make sure that the bills are in their name until "x" date.
              Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

              Comment


                #8
                Absolutely none of your business as a landlord. You are not a debt collector, nor the debt recovery department of British Gas.

                Do a checkout, take meter readings, get the checkout report signed by the tenant if you think necessary. Then notify the companies and give meter readings.

                If they come back and try to hit you or the next tenants with any period of usage that the tenant should have paid, you have proof of the checkout.

                I have never had a problem, across hundreds of tenancies.
                Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

                I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

                Comment


                  #9
                  Agree with Wickerman: I email, followed up by hard-copy (& keep a copy) notes to leccy, gas, water, council tax on all changes of tenancy (start, end, void, whatever..) with meter readings, dates & names...


                  Seems worth the bother to avoid later tears....
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                    Absolutely none of your business as a landlord.

                    Utility comapnies cut off the supply to a property, not a tenant.
                    Utility companies can ask for a deposit before supplying a property.

                    It is the landlords business, as it effects hs business.
                    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You will find out if the power has been cut off if you go to the property for the checkout and there is no power - by notifying the providers when the tenant moves out they will not visit the property to terminate the supply in case of overdue bills.

                      Again, you are making the tenants affairs yours - it simply isn't your problem. You could try the same for Sky, Virgin, TV license or BrightHouse if you wanted - all you would do is deprive the tenant of the use of their money to actually pay these bills, if they haven't already done so far.
                      Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

                      I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                        Then the tenant can call them in front of you.
                        You would need to inform the council tax dept irrespective of whether they have or not anyway.

                        I don't think it fair to expect to see evidence of payment, just to make sure that the bills are in their name until "x" date.
                        Sounds very intimidating to me !

                        Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                        Utility comapnies cut off the supply to a property, not a tenant.
                        Utility companies can ask for a deposit before supplying a property.

                        It is the landlords business, as it effects hs business.
                        Gas,electric,telephone,broadband,sky accounts are a private matter between The Tenant and Utility companies,Not the LL....
                        Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by 45002 View Post
                          Sounds very intimidating to me !
                          Report it to the police.

                          Originally posted by 45002 View Post

                          Gas,electric,telephone,broadband,sky accounts are a private matter between The Tenant and Utility companies,Not the LL....
                          As stated, they can become a problem for the landlord and the next tenant.
                          I am speaking from personal experience, not hypothetically.

                          If you can't see that, that's your choice. The tenant can take the landlord to court if they are unhappy.
                          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks all for your thoughts. Honestly, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for proof that there are no debts against the property. Whilst I agree, legally, the contract is with the tenant, not the property, unpaid bills can still cause a nuisance for the next tenant and /or the landlord.

                            It is written into the contract - and may well be unenforceable in a court of law, but this situation was where the tenant was asking for their deposit back EARLY - so I was doing them a favour and was expecting (not unreasonably) for them to prove to me that all bills had been settled - as per the contract.

                            They have now done this, so following an inspection later this week, I will return their deposit a couple of weeks early (less rent still owing for a part-period).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You are being quite generous in returning the deposit before the property is vacated. IMO a much bigger risk than unpaid bills would be that when goods and furniture are being moved quickly, damage can easily be done.

                              Comment

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