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AuntyEm74
24-01-2008, 15:19 PM
Hello
I was wondering if anyone can give me their views on this. My tenant (first one, I am new to this) moved in in December 2006 and I wrote to the electricity co, council tax and water co putting the bills in her name. I forwarded my post from the property (i had previously lived there) to my new property and have had no bills for the rental property since.

My tenant has been continually late with the rent and obviously couldn't afford the flat. She failed to pay in Jan and text me last week saying she would move out this week and I could keep her deposit as this month's rent. Despite this meaning I didn't get a month's notice and would not have the deposit to cover any damage I agreed as I wanted her out.

We agreed I would go round there last night to check the property but when I arrived she had already gone and text me to say she had to get her lift to where she was staying.
I called the electricity company today to find she is £414 in arrears as all her payments bounced - and she owes £1200 in council tax. I guess she owes the water company too.

They both said they would pursue her for the debt and I am not liable but I am still a little concerned. What if she denies ever living there? Although she did have direct debits for both - but like the rent, they failed due to lack of funds most of the time. The electricity company want to see a copy of the AST as proof she has moved out (isn't it just proof she moved in?).

I just don't know how people think they will get away with this type of thing. I left her a voicemail saying that as she hasn't given me a forwarding address I would give her creditors her dad and sister's addresses (her sister signed as her gaurantor) and that she should sort things out. She won't return my voice messages / texts and I accept that she won't cough up for the professional cleaning and carpet cleaning the flat needs either. Or the broken toilet seat.

I guess I got off lightly as apart from the cleaning fees she doesn't owe me any money?

Any thoughts?

Emma

pcwilkins
24-01-2008, 15:32 PM
The crucial question --- did the T ever sign anything in which she agreed to pay these bills/council tax? I.e. what did the AST say?

Peter

AuntyEm74
24-01-2008, 15:43 PM
The AST states she will pay all the bills - energy, council tax, water etc. And she set up direct debits to do so although most of them failed to go through it seems - I don't know how the energy company and council let her go without paying for so long? She made at least one payment on each I think.

jeffrey
24-01-2008, 15:46 PM
See other thread. The whole point turns on whom is treated as the customer. Nothing in the AST derogates from each service provider's rights- after all, the AST is a private deal between L and T- so the billed person is the one who has to pay.

jghomer
24-01-2008, 16:01 PM
On a non-legal note of assurance, i've had hundreds of tenants disappear without paying bills, or sometimes even notifying the util companies or council tax people they were there in the first place! And to perhaps re-assure you further, I NEVER notify the util companies myself like many landlords do, and indeed you did!

With a signed AST to prove they were in occupation, I have never once had to foot a bill of any description.

I'm pretty confident you'll be ok.

AuntyEm74
24-01-2008, 16:03 PM
Thanks both of you. Which is the other thread I should be looking at please?

Planner
24-01-2008, 17:45 PM
Hello
I called the electricity company today to find she is £414 in arrears as all her payments bounced - and she owes £1200 in council tax. I guess she owes the water company too.
Emma

Really? Im quite disgusted (not at you!) that the company would give out such private and sensitive information to you, they would be in serious trouble if anyone ever made a complaint.

As already suggested, you will be fine with a signed AST showing that someone else was responsible.

jeffrey
25-01-2008, 09:09 AM
Thanks both of you. Which is the other thread I should be looking at please?
Try shinyshef's thread on "Landlord and bills". If I knew how to link it, I would-
but I can't
[(c) Orville].

AuntyEm74
25-01-2008, 09:47 AM
Yes, I am quite surprised the electricity company and council both just told me she was in arrears. Thames Water said they couldn't because of Data Protection.

Surrey
26-01-2008, 09:54 AM
Yes, I am quite surprised the electricity company and council both just told me she was in arrears. Thames Water said they couldn't because of Data Protection.

On that note, you should be careful about passing on the guarantor's details, for the same reason. I'm not saying you shouldn't, just that you should check that you will not be breaching it if you do. (I think there's a clause in the DPA that mentions stuff about legal proceedings, so you could well be fine, but I'm not certain.)

AuntyEm74
26-01-2008, 10:40 AM
Well, I haven't signed anything to say I will stick to any DPA rules - while Thames Water has obviously committed to following them. I just think it's disgusting that people think they can get away without paying for stuff - which raises prices for the rest of us.

Meanwhile the flat needed professional cleaning which cost me £160 and the toilet needing replacing, another £100. As she used the deposit as the final month's rent I guess it's pointless trying to pursue her for these costs? She won't return my calls / texts about a forwarding address.

The good news is I have already found a new tenant - a mate's sister. But the way the previous tenant behaved has left a nasty taste in my mouth.

Subway
26-01-2008, 11:26 AM
Had to laugh at your comment re Data Protection Act - its a law you don't get to sign in or out! :)

bagpuss
26-01-2008, 17:54 PM
On a non-legal note of assurance, i've had hundreds of tenants disappear without paying bills, or sometimes even notifying the util companies or council tax people they were there in the first place! And to perhaps re-assure you further, I NEVER notify the util companies myself like many landlords do, and indeed you did!

With a signed AST to prove they were in occupation, I have never once had to foot a bill of any description.

I'm pretty confident you'll be ok.


I've usually had a short void between tenants so have had to ring the utilities in order to have the bills put in my name for the interim. When I request the final bill before the new tenant moves in, I've found that the utility companies usually ask me the name of the new tenant. Out of curiosity, how have you avoided this?

AuntyEm74
29-01-2008, 23:02 PM
Well, I have no idea what the DPA rules are. I assumed firms can't give out details they collect on customers but I don't know if the same thing applies to individuals? My ex-tenant deserves to be pursued for the debts though, so I don't care either way.

AuntyEm74
29-01-2008, 23:17 PM
Is it worth trying to pursue the guarantor for the damage to the flat. The tenant used the deposit as the last month's rent and agreed she would pay for any damage. However since then she will not reply to texts or calls about the flat or bills. The flat needed professional cleaning (£100), carpet and sofa cleaning (£50), new toilet (£100), plus the knob on the cooker needs to be fixed (£??) and possibly the economy 7 storage heater (£??). Plus her smoking habit means I have paid £200 for the flat to be re-decorated.
Does the gaurantor's responsibilty extend to damage or just rent?

Ericthelobster
30-01-2008, 06:58 AM
Is it worth trying to pursue the guarantor for the damage to the flat. The tenant used the deposit as the last month's rent and agreed she would pay for any damage. However since then she will not reply to texts or calls about the flat or bills. The flat needed professional cleaning (£100), carpet and sofa cleaning (£50), new toilet (£100), plus the knob on the cooker needs to be fixed (£??) and possibly the economy 7 storage heater (£??). Plus her smoking habit means I have paid £200 for the flat to be re-decorated.
Does the gaurantor's responsibilty extend to damage or just rent?Well, depends on what your agreement states, doesn't it?! Usually, the answer would be yes if it's been properly executed - after all, that's the whole point of having a guarantor.

Assuming so, then definitely pursue the guarantor: that's why you have one. How successful you will be will likely be determined by how diligent you've been with the inventories.