Jump to content

Tenant hasn't payed Gas or Electric bills

Joe Daque

Recommended Posts

Hi guys.

My tenant has been in my property for eight months now on a shorthold tenancy agreement.

To make things easier for me, I was thinking of changing the gas and electric over to a key (pay as you go), that way I won't have to keep taking meter readings and contact the utilities company on my tenenat's behalf.

Anyway, I rang up the utilities company last week and whilst enquiring about changing the gas and electric over to keys, I was told that the tenant has not payed any gas or electric bills since he has moved in.

The utilities company say they have sent my tenant several reminders and he's has just been ignoring them.

The tenant is dss and is very malipulative given the chance. I wouldn't put it past him deliberately not paying the bills with the thought of leaving them to me to pay once he moves out.

I have a two-way communication with my tenant. For instance, the fuse went the other day and he was straight on the phone to me, but if there is a rental query or any other reason i call him, more often than not, he won't bother taking my calls, i have to leave txt messages. He keeps saying he didn't have any credit on his phone.

The reason I'm telling you about the communication problem, is that if I give the utilities company the nod to change the gas and electric over to a key, this will involve communicating with the tenant. And as it is not in his interest, he probably won't take my calls.

The utilities said that if they change over to keys, then the tenant will have to either pay the full bills for the gas and electric or every time he tops up his key then they will deduct a small amount until he pays the bills, which total over £300.

As my tenant is malipulative I reckon there's a fair chance that if I change over to the key system then my tenant won't pay the full rent and he might say he can't afford it as he has to pay off the bills. I get the rent payed in cash each month in person, I wish I had arranged for the cheque to be sent to me, 'cause half the time I arrive to pick up the rent he aint there.

The bills are in the tenants name, as I rang the utilities company the day he moved in. I'm 80% sure but just want to clarify that regarding non payment it is the tenant responsibility to pay and not mine.

Any thoughts or advice would be kindly appreciated

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the comments above in that it is the tenants responsibility and the utility companies problem not yours.

I don't like the idea of changing over to a key top-up, where very payment he makes a bit of the debt is deducted. I can see them deducting £10 everytime, but say he leaves soon after. The debt would be left on the key for the new tenant, who would not be happy to pay it.

It would then probably fall to you to clear the debt.

My advise is wait for the tenant to leave and then change the meter. Beware if it is British Gas though, they tend to come early and leave a message saying they were later than they were. I.e. I travelled for three hours to arrive at the property @ 11:45 only to find a note from British Gas saying wee called at............ 12:05. When they were supposed to come between 12 and 6 !!!!!!!! Brrrrrrrrrr!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you guys reckon I should turn a blind eye to the fact that the tenant won't pay the gas or electric bills in his name, and just let the debt grow and grow?

This may be the best thing to do, because knowing the tenant, if I did force the issue and change over the keys, I reckon they may start playing silly buggers with the rent, as each month I have only just about managed to get the rent payed, once having to get the rent off the guarantor after he wouldn't take my calls.

And as Mathew says, it could leave the next tenant with agro in clearing the key.

PS I have written a two letters addressed to the council and given it to the tenant to switch the council to pay me direct, they are useless though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I would much rather the tenant owe the utility companies £1,000 than me, if they lose £1,000 then it is not your problem. And yes if he pays up to the utility companies it looks as if he may then not be able to pay you, so all you'll be doing is switching the debt from them to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll keep quiet then, especially as i can't afford for the tenant to stop paying me.

Thanks guys for the advice, you've been really helpful. ;)

....................which will be when the Utility Companies issue a Courts Summons for Non Payment of outstanding bills which I guess will be fairly soon I reckon.

Give him 2 Months notice to quit?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes Melboy, I imagine it will be soon if he carries on not paying the bills.

The funny thing is, yesterday, i went round for an inspection after giving 24hrs notice, he wasn't in and nearly all the lights were on, you'd think as he hasn't payed the bills and has received several reminders that he would switch the lights off when leaving the house!

The slight problem that I have got regarding serving notice, is that work has been quiet lately and my margins and back-up are currently very slim, consequently i'm reluctant to serve notice incase I can't get a new tenant in straight away.

I probably would of served notice by now had if it had not been for the guarantor, who seems to be the opposite of the tenant, fairly communicative and helpful, and paid me a month's rent when the dss were originally processing the housing benefit.

I suppose I'm looking at it from the angle that as long as he's giving me the rent each month then the mortgage is being covered and each month closer to having no mortgage. Only another 23 years to go!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...