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Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied?

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  • Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied?

    Hello all. I wonder can anyone point me in the right direction in order to ascertain the above?
    I don't have all the details to hand yet, but my partner's father is having some difficulty with a DCA collecting on behalf of a utility company.

    Briefly, there is a discrepancy between the amount they are claiming he owes and what he actually believes he should owe.

    Firstly, he himself, does not have any contract with the utilities company.
    The previous tenants nominated the chosen utilities company.

    The 'present occupier' has received letters from DCA threatening bailiffs on the basis of an estimated bill which is at odds with the actual meter readings taken in between tenants.
    Tags: None

  • Diana M
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Originally posted by Redletter View Post
    Thanks
    Thanks for the link(s) Di that certainly clarifies the situation regarding contracts.

    . . . I think there has possibly been some confusion as the present tenancy is through an agent whose rental terms required a change to "Spark" energy/supplier (not sure why this is required). The outstanding bill is thought to be for some alleged usage in between tenancies due to FU estimating their final reading!
    I'm a Landlord (amongst other things ) and I always arrange for the Inventory Clerk or Agent to take photos of the meter readings as Tenants come and go so there can be no arguments.

    I expect the agent insisted on the change of supplier because some have a 'business referral' deal with the energy provider (ie they get paid commission for introducing new customers).

    Di

    Leave a comment:


  • Redletter
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Thanks
    Thanks for the link(s) Di that certainly clarifies the situation regarding contracts.
    With regard to the bill the landlord paid, I think it was for the time between one tenant moving out and the other moving in, which is why he doesn't think he should owe anything.
    I will know better once I have seen the paperwork this weekend at some point.
    I think there has possibly been some confusion as the present tenancy is through an agent whose rental terms required a change to "Spark" energy/supplier (not sure why this is required). The outstanding bill is thought to be for some alleged usage in between tenancies due to FU estimating their final reading!

    Thanks to both of you for your help. I will keep you up to date once I know the smaller detail.

    Leave a comment:


  • Diana M
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Originally posted by slainte caragh View Post
    Can I add that he has to wait 8 weeks from the start of his complaint or have a letter of deadlock to do so please.

    The ombudsman won't entertain a complaint before that.
    That's explained on the Ombudsman Services - Energy website (I posted a link).

    Di

    Leave a comment:


  • slainte caragh
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Originally posted by Diana M View Post
    If your partner's father is deemed liable then if he gets nowhere with the supplier he can make a formal complaint (to them) and then refer it to the Ombudsman Services - Energy for a decision if necessary.

    Here is how to do that > https://complaints.ombudsman-service...ctor/selection

    Di

    Can I add that he has to wait 8 weeks from the start of his complaint or have a letter of deadlock to do so please.

    The ombudsman won't entertain a complaint before that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Diana M
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    This website explanation is a bit wordy but it may give you an idea about liability for utility accounts involving Landlords, Tenants and voids (unoccupied periods where the supply is still connected) > https://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/guid..._charges.shtml

    What you partner's father needs to establish is whether there is a "deemed contract" for the accounts under the the Electricity Code or Gas Code (see point 2 in the link).

    The terms of the tenancy agreement may be relevant too. It would/should state who is liable and who isn't. Why did he pay some of the bill prior to the tenants moving out?

    Did your partner's father have a deposit from the previous Tenant so that if any of the bill owed by them remains unpaid then he may be able to deduct it from the deposit (some tenancy agreements specifically state that the Tenants must provide proof of payment of all bills at the end of the tenancy)?

    If your partner's father is deemed liable then if he gets nowhere with the supplier he can make a formal complaint (to them) and then refer it to the Ombudsman Services - Energy for a decision if necessary.

    Here is how to do that > https://complaints.ombudsman-service...ctor/selection

    Di

    Leave a comment:


  • slainte caragh
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    You're very welcome!

    Lemme know what you need and I will provide it. I am fighting 1U myself as they still haven't given me an accurate bill!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Redletter
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Thanks SC.
    Ah really! Interesting.
    I will get hold of the paperwork etc - and yes - I would welcome some guidance as to the content of of such an email.
    Thank you. I will update you once I have all the details.

    Leave a comment:


  • slainte caragh
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    OOOOH my favourite people!!

    The CEO is Phil Gripton, and as if by magic his email address is Phil@First-Utility.com

    Gather every little piece of information, meter readings, dates etc and send him a nice little email stating that you know that you are not responsible for the bill for a previous tenant and that your dad has not requested a contract with the company and will no longer be requiring their services,

    If you want a nice little email drafting lemme know.. i shall enjoy this

    Leave a comment:


  • Redletter
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Hi Slainte Caragh and thank you for your reply.
    I was watching the forum but for some reason did not get notification of your reply.
    Apologies also for the double post which I did not realise had occurred.

    The supplier is first utility for gas & electricity.
    He has spoken to first utility to query the amounts and has informed them of the correct meter readings which were recorded when the estate agent did the inventory, prior to the present tenants taking residence..
    He has also spoken to the DCA (not sure which one at this stage as I've not yet seen any paperwork).
    Initially the DCA said they would refer it back to First Utility, but have since been phoning him for payment..
    He said he spoke to someone more reasonable who has taken all the details.
    Apparently, they asked him for his home address and D.O.B which he refused to give them and told them they can email him..

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • slainte caragh
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Originally posted by Redletter View Post
    Hello all. I wonder can anyone point me in the right direction in order to ascertain the above?
    I don't have all the details to hand yet, but my partner's father is having some difficulty with a DCA collecting on behalf of a utility company.

    He is the landlord of a house he rents out.

    Briefly, there is a discrepancy between the amount they are claiming he owes and what he actually believes he should owe.

    Firstly, he himself, does not have any contract with the utilities company.
    The previous tenants nominated the chosen utilities company.

    The 'present occupier' has received letters from DCA threatening bailiffs on the basis of an estimated bill which is at odds with the actual meter readings taken in between tenants.

    The estate agent who managed the tenancies even wrote the readings on their inventory before granting the present tenancy! So some evidence of this although no photos taken AFAIK.

    The landlord has phoned the DCA (too late I told him to never do this!)
    He has also spoken to the utilities company.
    He has explained to the DCA that the amount is in dispute.
    The DCA have persisted in chasing the 'debt'.
    He has given the DCA all the details of the dispute and the reasons for it.
    They have suggested that he might have to pay a standing charge of approx 1.30 per day for the period in which the house was empty.

    As far as I am aware, he had already paid a small bill to them when the previous tenants left for the time PRIOR to that tenancy. Does this mean he has entered into some sort of implied contract?

    He doesn't mind paying what he actually owes, as obviously he used electricity when preparing the house for the latest tenancy.
    However, the amount claimed is certainly not correct as far as he is concerned.

    Any advice as to where I can research his rights or template letter for DCA would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks.
    What utility is this?
    water? gas and electric?
    who is the supplier and what action has your dad taken atm?

    Leave a comment:


  • Redletter
    replied
    Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied?

    Hello all. I wonder can anyone point me in the right direction in order to ascertain the above?
    I don't have all the details to hand yet, but my partner's father is having some difficulty with a DCA collecting on behalf of a utility company.

    He is the landlord of a house he rents out.

    Briefly, there is a discrepancy between the amount they are claiming he owes and what he actually believes he should owe.

    Firstly, he himself, does not have any contract with the utilities company.
    The previous tenants nominated the chosen utilities company.

    The 'present occupier' has received letters from DCA threatening bailiffs on the basis of an estimated bill which is at odds with the actual meter readings taken in between tenants.

    The estate agent who managed the tenancies even wrote the readings on their inventory before granting the present tenancy! So some evidence of this although no photos taken AFAIK.

    The landlord has phoned the DCA (too late I told him to never do this!)
    He has also spoken to the utilities company.
    He has explained to the DCA that the amount is in dispute.
    The DCA have persisted in chasing the 'debt'.
    He has given the DCA all the details of the dispute and the reasons for it.
    They have suggested that he might have to pay a standing charge of approx 1.30 per day for the period in which the house was empty.

    As far as I am aware, he had already paid a small bill to them when the previous tenants left for the time PRIOR to that tenancy. Does this mean he has entered into some sort of implied contract?

    He doesn't mind paying what he actually owes, as obviously he used electricity when preparing the house for the latest tenancy.
    However, the amount claimed is certainly not correct as far as he is concerned.

    Any advice as to where I can research his rights or template letter for DCA would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • slainte caragh
    replied
    Re: Extent of Landlords responsibility for utility charges whilst house is unoccupied

    Hi,

    what utility is it and which provider?

    I can have a look for you

    Leave a comment:

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