Bills from Landlord months after end of tenancy

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    Bills from Landlord months after end of tenancy

    Hi All,

    Bit of a long story, will try to keep it succinct. My fiancee was living in a rented property up until August 2012. The property was made up of a 2-bedroom flat which was shared between my fiancee and her friend, and a ground-floor commercial property (print shop).

    Utilities were paid by the Landlord, and initially the tenants were told (by lettings agents, by phone, not by email) that due to the fact that the meters fed both the flat and the shop, initial bills would not have to be paid until the landlord fixed this situation. Additionally, no written or verbal agreement was ever made regarding paying bills. Long story short there, ridiculously high payment ended up being asked for months into the tenancy, without bills being produced, months went by, bills were eventually produced asking for less than was originally asked from the tenants (albeit still very, very high, and covering both the flat and the shop). Eventually everything got paid for, the landlord sold the property and the tenants ended their tenancy.

    Fast forward 4 months to December 2012 - one of the tenants is sent an email from the lettings agency demanding £40 for payment of the water bill. An amount of back-and-forth ensues, and a bill (a red bill, in the landlord's name, care of the shop) is produced for the period July-September 2012, for the entire property, totalling £87. The tenants were in the property for just under 1/3 of this period, and the bill is between the flat and the shop. Obviously, £30 is the max for this, and £20 seems more reasonable (2/3 flat, 1/3 shop) for a fixed rate water supply!

    Questions:

    1) Is the landlord able to request the money this far after the tenancy has ended (4 months)?
    2) Given this was the *only* water bill provided, and there was never a written or verbal agreement regarding the split between the shop and the flat, how should this be split?
    3) Is there anything questionable about having utilities split between a commercial and residential building in this way?

    And a bonus question:

    4) Given bills were in the name of the landlord, the tenants were told that they *were* allowed to change supplier, *but* in order to do this they would have to pay the costs involved with splitting the supply between the flat and the shop - is this a legal footing for the landlord to take?

    Apologies for the wall of text, just interested to hear other peoples take on this situation.

    Regards,

    Jamie

    (edit: PS, I realise that £40 is not a lot of money, but given the issues had in the past with the landlord and the lettings agency, and the precedent set by paying regarding any other bills that "magically" appear, we'd like to get this right!)

    #2
    Are you saying that the tenancy contract says nothing about who is liable for paying utilities bills?

    bills were eventually produced asking for less than was originally asked from the tenants (albeit still very, very high, and covering both the flat and the shop). Eventually everything got paid for, the landlord sold the property and the tenants ended their tenancy.
    Assuming 'everything got paid for' up to the end of the tenancy, why are you worried that more bills will suddenly appear?

    Comment


      #3
      Hello Jamie

      Not helpful, but you wouldn't be in Cardiff by any chance would you? I am dealing with a very similar issue! PM me.
      LML

      Comment

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