Gas / Electricity - final bills

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Gas / Electricity - final bills

    Property in E & W ( London)

    For months I have been asking the tenant for the finals bills to show gas & elec is fully paid up before releasing deposit.

    Yesterday got a forwarded email by tenant supposedly from Npower saying:

    With regards to any outstanding balances on the account this is now with you and is not associated with the property in question. No account numbers remain the same and each is individual to the person and not the property. Any debt is your responsibility and not the property.


    Is this true? I thought utility bills were tied to the property address.

    Still have doubts the tenant has paid bills as she said she was disputing the last bill with them. And suspect as to why she hasn't been able to produce a final bill after all this time.

    And the email can be bogus and easy to fake.

    Advice/thoughts?

    #2
    Originally posted by sparkie View Post
    Yesterday got a forwarded email by tenant supposedly from Npower saying:

    With regards to any outstanding balances on the account this is now with you and is not associated with the property in question. No account numbers remain the same and each is individual to the person and not the property. Any debt is your responsibility and not the property.


    Is this true? I thought utility bills were tied to the property address.
    Yes it is true - certainly for gas and electric; though water has slightly different rules in that if you hadn't notified them of the tenant's presence yourself, they could indeed come after you, the landlord.

    As you will be advised by others here (this is quite a common discussion point here), you're not supposed to use this as the basis for withholding a tenant's deposit for this reason.

    You need to be sure that the tenant has given the utility companies the correct meter readings and move-out dates - although they won't tell you a thing about the tenant's account ('data protection, innit') if you provide the same details they will at least be able to confirm that they tally.

    Still have doubts the tenant has paid bills as she said she was disputing the last bill with them. And suspect as to why she hasn't been able to produce a final bill after all this time.
    Yes, highly likely.

    And the email can be bogus and easy to fake.
    Yes, but it's perfectly true, so unlikely!

    Also if the departing tenant changes addresses again while the debt is outstanding and doesn't inform the utility co, then the utility co will start chasing the debt at every known address they have on file, including your property, which could lead to debt collectors hassling your next tenants. That's certainly happened to me. (Eg, last week I found an obvious AmEx bill just delivered to one of my properties, addressed to woman I bought the house from... 12 years ago!)

    Another reason for the landlord to be circumspect about this is that despite what anyone says, properties do get blacklisted by the utility companies, in that if you have several tenants who do a runner without paying their bills, it will make it harder for future tenants to be permitted credit accounts, and they may well be forced to take prepayment meters. You may well not want that - I wouldn't.

    On balance, I think in your your shoes, provided the tenants could show me bills demonstrating that the accounts had been transferred to their new address, I wouldn't try to block repayment of the deposit any further.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
      Yes, but it's perfectly true, so unlikely!
      But why not email me a copy of the final statement to show its been paid? And how does one know she even had the name on the account under her name? She could be using my name. for all I know

      Also that email from Npower doesn't state any bills associated with the address whilst they have been there have been settled.

      Another reason for the landlord to be circumspect about this is that despite what anyone says, properties do get blacklisted by the utility companies, in that if you have several tenants who do a runner without paying their bills, it will make it harder for future tenants to be permitted credit accounts, and they may well be forced to take prepayment meters. You may well not want that - I wouldn't.
      Definitely not. Which is why the property is linked regardless. I just want confirmation the bills have been fully settled so there is no come back from the utility companies and making it a nightmare for future tenants wanting gas or electricity.

      On balance, I think in your your shoes, provided the tenants could show me bills demonstrating that the accounts had been transferred to their new address, I wouldn't try to block repayment of the deposit any further.
      Ok, is that b/c then the debt if unpaid is then moved to the new address hence not tying it to my rental address? But as you said if the tenant still does not settle the final bills at their new address, the utility companies could chase backwards to my property and eventually the property owner, ie me?

      I can certainly ask her for bills transferred to new address. But she hasn't even showed the last bill at my rental address, let alone her new address. Maybe she doesn't want to show it as it has her new address. But what's there to hide? Unless she hasn't paid it and has debts outstanding.

      Comment


        #4
        I would be surprised that you can withhold the tenants deposit because of unpaid utility bills. To me this doesn't seem right. However, I do understand where you are coming from.

        The main thing you should concentrate on : did you get accurate meter readings which she agreed to when she left.

        Comment


          #5
          Forget whether the tenant has paid them or not.
          You need to know whether the meter readings they gave on exit are correct. You do this by contacting the utility company.

          If they ask whether the tenant has left a forwarding address/details, you know that they are not in discussion about paying the bill.
          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

          Comment


            #6
            I have situations in which the tenant has given lower readings when they moved out, but the utility company has accepted the readings recordedin the inventory / check out report so it has never resulted in a problem.
            Assume I know nothing.

            Comment


              #7
              OP - can we take it that you have protected yourself by transferring the accounts into your own name, with the T's final meter readings (from checkout) as your start readings?

              If so, you should have no problem.

              You have no business holding back the deposit for this. It is a matter between T and utilities people.

              Has tenant raised a dispute with whichever deposit protection scheme is involved?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Claymore View Post
                The main thing you should concentrate on : did you get accurate meter readings which she agreed to when she left.
                Why is this important? Presumably b/c the next tenant taking over the gas/elec account will get hit? or the utility co will chase for the lower reading portion not paid?

                The tenant took the meter reading and told the utility co. One of the remaining tenants in the flat too over responsibility of the gas & elec bill. Its been over 3 months (ie. bill has been issued for quarter since) and he hasn't reported any high readings or bills for the gas or elec, so assume the reading given was accurate

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                  You need to know whether the meter readings they gave on exit are correct. You do this by contacting the utility company.
                  Will Npower give this info out? even to a LL?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Sad S,

                    It is my business as gas & elec was supplied to the property address I own. Which opens up some potential liability if T has not paid final bills.

                    No she hasn't. It's been 3+ months since protection ended. We have been chasing her for months for proof of final bills paid.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      On what basis are you waiting for proof the final bills have been paid?
                      Presumably your tenancy agreement as there's no statutory basis.

                      I'm interested to see how you worded that, as not returning a tenant's money to them is going to require some support.
                      Otherwise you have no right to see any invoices that your ex-tenant does not wish you to see.

                      Provided you have properly notified the utility companies, you have no liability for a tenants utility bills - even though the utility companies may (illegally) try and charge you in lieu of the tenant.

                      What about the tenant's credit card bills / catalog purchases / unreturned library books / mobile phone bills, all of which are equally "linked" to the property you own?
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by sparkie View Post
                        Will Npower give this info out? even to a LL?
                        They don't need to give anything out.
                        You give them the details. If they say that your details are incorrect, then it is obviously the tenants have given different readings.
                        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by sparkie View Post
                          The tenant took the meter reading and told the utility co. One of the remaining tenants in the flat too over responsibility of the gas & elec bill. Its been over 3 months (ie. bill has been issued for quarter since) and he hasn't reported any high readings or bills for the gas or elec, so assume the reading given was accurate
                          Well, under that scenario you really don't have much, if any, cause for personal concern. You definitely aren't going to end up liable for the original tenant's unpaid bills. You're on very thin ice hanging on to the deposit now and you really should return it.

                          Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                          They don't need to give anything out.
                          You give them the details. If they say that your details are incorrect, then it is obviously the tenants have given different readings.
                          Indeed. Every time a tenant of mine moves out, we agree on what the meter readings are - if they vacate when I'm not present, I ask them to write down the readings and leave them in the property, for the avoidance of doubt. I then phone in my readings to the utility co, and they will happily verify they are OK (assuming the tenants have already phoned their's in). I've never had a situation where there's been a discrepancy, but for sure, the utility co would flag it at that point if there was.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            sparkie,

                            Hi, it is very important that 'you' take readings as and when the tenant vacates. It is important that you, the landlord, contacts the utility supplier and gives over your readings. It's quite a good idea to take a photo with your phone of the meter readings. Your tenant may give over different readings (perhaps a lower figure). Sometimes a new tenant doesn't go into the property immediately after the previous tenant vacates. In this situation, a bill would be produced and issued in your name.

                            Last year, this actually happened to me. I relied on my exiting tenants to phone the utility companies with the accurate readings. Because I didn't have another tenant moving in (the property was in the process of being sold), I didn't bother phoning up with my readings. This bit me in the backside big time! For six weeks there was a supply of gas and electric at the property although everything was switched off (therefore, no gas or electric was used from the day the tenants moved out). Anyway 8 months pass by and then I received a summons for unpaid utility bills as the previous tenants had given incorrect readings and the new bill automatically defaulted into my name as I was the legal owner of the property.

                            Edit: If one of the remaining tenants took over the utilities - then why on earth are you holding on to the tenants deposit? I really believe you have no right to withhold tenants money 'in-case, there is an error on the readings'.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Claymore View Post
                              Edit: If one of the remaining tenants took over the utilities - then why on earth are you holding on to the tenants deposit? I really believe you have no right to withhold tenants money 'in-case, there is an error on the readings'.
                              I still don't have proof the final bill has been paid and settled. This is what I require to be satisfied she has settled all her debts.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X