Tenant claims I am liable for high gas bill

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    Tenant claims I am liable for high gas bill

    Hi, I have had to re-post this thread due to technical issues on the Lanlordzone website which means the original thread has been deleted.
    If you made any comments on the thread please bear with me and and add them again - much appreciated.

    First timer here so really looking for some advice.

    Tenant has been in the property for 3yrs. I served a notice 21 to vacate a few weeks back as I want to sell the property. The tenant has not paid July or August rent – August payment being the last one due before they leave on the 13th September.
    After various discussions the tenant now tells me they have not paid July due to a banking error and will sort it out – still waiting and it will be 2 months late on the 13th.
    As for August payment they now say that they have had an on-going issue with the gas bills being excessive over the last 12 months and now believe the boiler is at fault and want me to agree to some compensation before they will pay August rent.

    Boiler history: the tenant told me a few months back that the boiler was leaking – the tenant is a plumber/central heating engineer and told me what he thought the problem was. I got an expert tradesman in and the boiler was duly fixed. Whilst being repaired the tradesman noticed that the boiler was firing up for no apparent reason and that something like the timer is at fault causing the boiler to light up even though there’s no need for heat.

    I don’t want to get into the technical issues, suffice to say that on hearing this, the tenant is now saying that the faulty boiler must be why the gas bills are so high. My argument is that whilst I cannot dispute the boiler is now faulty, they should have detected heat in the house or noticed the escalation in gas bills and notified me sooner, so I could investigate. They argue that they approached the gas supplier first and have been trying to identify the problem with them (i.e. faulty billing) for the past 8 months, not realising it was a boiler issue all along. As for the heat in the house they say that the boiler isn’t actually heating the house because the room thermostats aren’t opening, so radiators don’t warm up.

    I have spoken to the tradesman again and he clarified a few things for me. The boiler is lighting up buts its not heating the whole house because the room stats aren’t opening because of the warm weather and so higher ambient room temperatures. So all the boiler is heating is only a small amount of water – which certainly would not (in his opinion) result in excessive gas bills.

    So, as for me and the tenant I am saying if the house did heat up they should have noticed and told me. If the house didn’t heat up then they shouldn’t be getting ‘excessively’ high bills, but they can’t have it both ways.
    As we are clearly in dispute I have asked them for evidence of the high bills from when they say it all started, and copies of bills for the preceding 12 months.
    I still maintain they should not be withholding rent under these circumstances and as the deposit is held under a legitimate deposit scheme, I will contest the return of the deposit until all rent is paid up.

    Am I correct in my approach?
    I am certainly happy to consider the boiler issue but only when all facts are presented, I don’t feel I they should be under pressure to come to some agreement just to get my rent.
    Please help!

    I saw this the other day but didn't respond at the time.

    However...DH and I are in the same property as we were two years ago.

    We have usage levels for the past two winters.

    Nothing changed EXCEPT for the external temperature.

    Our gas usage over the winter of 2011/12 was 1/2 of the gas usage in 2012/13...we turned the heating on earlier, had it on for longer periods each day and turned it off later this winter because of the cold.

    I was astounded at first when I looked into it but having spoken to several friends, they were pretty much all in the same boat.


      Check EPC which should (?may - 3 of mine do) give indication of heating bills. Obviously tenant saw this before moving in....

      If he keeps moaning evict & get new one.
      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...


        I record my gas usage each month. Don't you do that, dearest T? How irresponsible of you not to. The bill is yours.

        I think they're just trying it on. If the house was theirs, ie on a mtg or paid outright, what action would they have taken?


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