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View Full Version : unpaid electric/gas etc- advice please



pickeringm
14-02-2007, 00:13 AM
Hi
My tenants have essentially done a runner. I discovered them in the process of moving out on 25th Jan whilst out for evening walk, following three months unpaid rent. I insisted on checking the property and they left the keys on 27th Jan but lied about where they have moved to. This is not a problem as their daughter is in my childminders daughters class so I have their new address.

However, meterplus and the equivalent gas organisation have visited to fit electric key meter and exchange the gas meter respectively, although neither have been able to gain access to do so. I contacted meterplus to find out who the tenants energy suppliers were and they informed me.

As the supplier has beeb trying to fit meters i can only assume there are substantial arrears in my ex tenants name. i have also had a milk bill for £76 but have told them of the new address.

I contacted the energy supplier by phone to supply final readings for my ex tenants but they were uninterested unless i put the supply in my name. As i do not live there and dont need another gas or electric supply I refused. They said I ran the risk of having the property cut off.

I have already decorated and fitted new carpets throughout, a to let sign is up and i anticipate/ hope to have the house relet within a few weeks..

What should I do regarding unpaid bills-- no post is coming to the house as the ex tenants are having it held at the post office-- thus leaving no trail for their new address ( I know this from our friendly postie)

Any advice appreciated

justaboutsane
14-02-2007, 07:33 AM
While the property is empty the bills should go in the Landlords name and normally most companies will reduce the bill to zero for the time the property is empty. As the bills are in the tenants name you havenothing to worry about, although you may have to redirect bailiffs when they turn up.

johnjw
14-02-2007, 08:16 AM
It's fortunate that you have the new address.
As justaboutsane says, the utility bills are not your concern. However the 3 months rent arrears are worth chasing. I would issue a summons using money claim on-line. This is cheap and easy to use.
Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will get your money, although you might do so. They will probably offer to pay small monthly amounts but you can insist on these amounts being realistic and you are likely to be supported by the Court.
If they do not respond, your ex-tenants will at least not be pleased to have a CCJ against their names at their new address.

Ericthelobster
14-02-2007, 08:20 AM
While the property is empty the bills should go in the Landlords name and normally most companies will reduce the bill to zero for the time the property is empty. As the bills are in the tenants name you havenothing to worry about, although you may have to redirect bailiffs when they turn up.I agree - and just make sure the gas and electric companies put you on a 'no standing charge' tarrif, as they tend not to by default.

Also, if you do this you ought to be able to circumvent them installing their prepayment meters, now that the defaulter has left.

Open question to others... if the LL has not been provided with a forwarding address by the tenant, but has obtained it from a 3rd party and passed it on to creditors (utilities and milkman) - then regardless of the morals of the situation, aren't there Data Protection issues here?

(I also have an ex-tenant who's in debt and is similarly hiding from her creditors behind Royal Mai's forwarding service - I'd be interested to know whether if I'm able to find her new address, whether I could pass it on to other creditors?)

justaboutsane
14-02-2007, 08:28 AM
Technically you should not pass it on. But are they likely to sue you when they owe money! And they would have to prove that you passed it on!!

We were in a similar situation and the bailiff I called to advise the tenant had gone assured me of anonimity (SP!!) if I could give a forwarding address. Anonymous calls are hard to trace!!!

johnjw
14-02-2007, 11:05 AM
I think Davidjohnbutton posted fairly recently to say that when someone is requesting personal information eg a current address, in order to press litigation eg. pursuit of debt; then the person is not protected by the Data Protection legislation insofar as the address can be given.
Also, in this case, the tenant left without giving a forwarding address, so the landlord (who found the address by his own efforts) is not even passing on privileged information.

lewis
14-02-2007, 16:12 PM
How do you go about finding a tenant's new address if they scarper off leaving bills and rent unpaid?

pickeringm
14-02-2007, 23:19 PM
Thanks for the feedback
Will put bills into my name until new tenants found. Thanks again

MrWoof
15-02-2007, 00:44 AM
It's fortunate that you have the new address.
As justaboutsane says, the utility bills are not your concern. However the 3 months rent arrears are worth chasing. I would issue a summons using money claim on-line. This is cheap and easy to use.Be advised that you can get an attachment of earnings order but only if the ex tenant is employed. ie not self employed or claiming unemployment benefit. You need their current address and the address of their employer.