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Tenants unpaid utility debt

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I had a very good tenant in a property for 5 years, rent paid and house left in reasonable codition when she left.

There was a pre paid meter for Gas and Electricity. I did not know that she had not paid her water bills for the duration of her tenancy. The water company did not pursue it at the time. They now hold me responsible and are harrasing me daily for the money. I had an assured short hold tenancy agreeement with her for the usual 6 month period which then continued through the five years. They are telling me thats not legal and that I should have renewed it every 6 months, anyone got any advice?


Thank you to everyone who replied to this.

I was advised to go to the Water Companies complaints dept, they have written off the debt and offered an apology.

If anyone else gets the same treatment I advise them to go there straight away and not waste as much time as I have trying to sort this out with debt collection agencies, they are too hard nosed to listen.

Thanks again everyone

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Absolute balls.

Just cos they say you must renew means nowt.

If the AST states the T is responsible for utilities then they are during the whole period of tenancy.

When an AST rolls into a Statutory Periodic Tenancy it does so on the same terms as the AST, where those terms are fair terms, even if all are not the fair terms stay.

You have no responsibility other than to show the original AST and it's terms that let you off the hook..

However they may get stroppy about you not informing them of the tenancy at commencement, that is removing yourself from their records as responsible.

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It beggars belief that the water company didn't persue ANYONE for payment of water bills for 5 years. That means due to their incompetance the rest of us have to contribute more.

I believe there is a time limit for them to claim payment. They could easily have found out the property owner or tenant from land registry or council tax registration.

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The law changed recently that stated if a landlord didn't inform the water companies of a tenants details they could chase the owner of the property. Does that cover old tenancies? I don't know.

Do you have the forwarding address of the tenant to give to the water company?

Section 144 of the Water Industry Act 1991

Chapter 56

Occupiers are liable for water charges unless an alternative agreement has been made between landlord and tenant.

Quote that to them and give them the new address of the tenant and see what they say.

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All information given to you so far is correct anniehynes............and just to support the comments so far.

Provided you informed the utility company who was occupying your rental property and the name of the tenent bill payer then you have no responsibility for non payment of water bills. However, if you didn't inform the water company then yes, you are liable for the payments.

The water company have clearly no idea about tenancy contract law and you are obviously dealing with the water company credit control money chaser within the organisation.

Provided your AST states clearly the tenants responsibility for utility bills you have no obligation at all to pay anything.


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