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Ex-tenancy bill advice (electricity)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Russinating, 31 May 2010.

  1. Russinating


    Joined: 27 Dec 2005

    Posts: 16,499

    Location: Bristol

    Hi guys, in a bit of a pickle and need some basic advice as to where I stand on this or who to ask for more of a legal standing.

    I moved out of a flat over a month ago after being there for 7 months. It was a private landlord, £400 deposit with DPS and if it matters it was a 2 bed and the landlord's son was the other tenant. I've already paid £192 since leaving to cover all bills for the last period of my tenancy.

    A couple of weeks after this they said there was a glitch :rolleyes:. They said that their son (the account older for all the bills) had received an electricity bill for £700. Basically after three weeks of them trying to "sort" it (I played no part as a) didn't live there and b) wasn't the account holder, so realistically there's nothing I can do) they've now said:

    You've got to be kidding me right? There's no way I'm paying £492 for three month's worth of electricity, but what can I do re: my deposit and the DPS?

    Also, surely if the meter was read wrong then this'll just even out across the next reading (ie if the meter was read as 2000 units more then the next reading will be 2000 less?).

    It's worth noting that my initial bill payment after leaving included £85.33 of electricity, which is what I'd expect for three months (heating and cooker is gas).

    So, what the hell can I do? :(
  2. Absomalutely


    Joined: 22 Aug 2004

    Posts: 463

    Location: East Sussex

    Id definately ask for copies of these bills so you can see this for yourself.

    Must be unreasonable for the landlord to just say 'oh the leccy was xxxx in the last month so we're withholding your deposit'

    Why wasnt the electricity in your name?
  3. JBuk


    Joined: 28 Nov 2002

    Posts: 11,070

    Location: Cumbria

    Surely he will get credit on his account so he won't be out of pocket?
  4. Johnny Girth

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Oct 2004

    Posts: 1,485

    What exactly is the situation? Was it that the electricity company made a mistake in reading your meter and the actually amount due for the time that you were a tenant at the property came to an extra £700? Or is it that the company has made a mistake by charging you an additional £700 when in fact none is due?

    You need to clear up whether it's the former or latter.

    If it's the first situation then you should ask for bills and meter readings - with corresponding dates. There should have been a meter reading when you moved in and then an actual reading when you moved out. If you don't take these readings then you're putting yourself at risk. It's quite common to get a £300-400 adjustment (i.e. increase) to your electricity bill when you finally come to take a reading if the company has been estimating. In which case, you'll probably have to swallow it. £700 seems particularly high though so it's important to know to which periods the charges relate.

    If it's the case that the electricity company has erroneously charged £700 then I'd go straight to the electricity company and demand that they correct the mistake. It doesn't sound like that's what's happened though.
  5. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 11 Mar 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    when you left did you get the meter readings signed on the inventory or something.

    I would not be accepting that at all. As said ask for copy of bills and if needed go through DPS as a dispute.
  6. Rigsta


    Joined: 5 Feb 2003

    Posts: 371

    Location: England's Green and pleasant land

    Points of suspicion for me :

    - £700 between 2 people = £350 , not £492. What else are they charging you for? (I'm not asking you to post it here - just be sure of it yourself). AND you've already paid £192 AFTER moving out.
    - Our "winter fuel" bill after the bloke came and read the meter came to about £500 (argued down from £700 from a bodged earlier meter reading). That's gas and electricity for a large 4-bed detached with carp insulation and a boiler from the bronze age. How does 3 months' leccy for a 2-bed flat come to £700, 2 months after the fact?

    I'd want a copy of ALL correspondance with the energy company sinced you moved IN, especially the meter reading taken when you moved in and the meter reading taken when you moved out. Verify it directly with the energy company if you can. Add up your share of all the bills and compare that amount to how much you've paid since moving in. Your bank will have records going back a long way.

    If your deposit is held by a third party, you could try reporting this dispute to them and they may even investigate it themselves. Be aware that you might be obliged to abide by their ruling if you take this route though - and their ruling may not be in your favour.

    These people might also be of service : http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/aboutus/advice_services.htm

    Never used them myself though. Good luck!
    Last edited: 31 May 2010
  7. dowie

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: 29 Jan 2008

    Posts: 52,073

    If the meter reading was out by that much then it was likely out for longer than the 7 months you've been living there. I.e. they must have been underpaying their bills based on an inaccurate estimates for some time - perhaps you do owe slightly more though if you've already paid say 80 for 3 months I doubt you owe much more than that.

    if you've got a meter reading of the day you moved in and the day you've moved out then you should just have to pay half of that tbh...

    Definitely take them to the small claims court otherwise as they can't expect you to cover that amount.

    edit - actually your first post in a bit ambiguous - are you saying that the large bill is based upon an inaccurate meter reading? that's BS tbh.. you can just give them a meter reading on the phone. Also if it was incorrect and the son overpaid then the account would now be in credit.

    either way - if they've overpaid this time or if the large bill was to make up for a long period of estimates/underpayments I doubt you're responsible for paying half
    Last edited: 31 May 2010
  8. SaBBz


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,880

    Location: Elsewhere

    As said above, just use the meter reading from when you moved in and moved out. Calculate the total cost, as the price per unit will be on the electricity bills, and divide this by 2.

    It is very likely that the meter was last read a long time before you moved in if the cost is that high, therefore just do the above and they can't argue with it!
  9. suj999


    Joined: 18 Jul 2009

    Posts: 286

    Location: Essex

    It does seem a bit dodgy.. get a bill first..
  10. Skyrunner


    Joined: 11 Nov 2004

    Posts: 306

    Location: Reading

    I'd ask for a bill to prove the meter readings and the date they were taken, although it doesn't seem wildly impossible, but £700 for an adjustment seems rather high, the meter reading's should have been done when you moved out and signed along with an inventory?
  11. Stupido


    Joined: 21 Oct 2002

    Posts: 280

    Location: Sol System

    Your tenancy agreement is between the landlord and you and i would be very surprised if your landlord has the legal right to pass on your tenancy deposit to third parties.Are there any clauses in the tenancy agreemnet relating to household bills or anything that allows the landlord to pass on your deposit to other parties ?

    The electricity contract is between the electric company and your flatmate . Do you have any written agreement setting out how household bills were to be divided and paid ?

    I would go and talk to CAB or perhaps a local solicitor that offers a free half hour consultation.

    You could make an online small claims case for the £400 via moneyclaim online

    Last edited: 1 Jun 2010
  12. iamtheoneneo


    Joined: 15 Mar 2010

    Posts: 9,818

    Location: Bucks

    get the bill and then if they refuse it or doesnt make sense, demand the deposit back, and if that doesnt work small claims court it is.

    dont mess about, you want the bill in original print within the week.
  13. Dunks


    Joined: 31 Oct 2004

    Posts: 8,594

    Location: London

    So the landlord is giving the other tenant your deposit to cover electricity bills? Can they legally do this?

    If the landlord wasn't their son, I doubt very much they'd be giving him the deposit to cover bills which should instead be dealt with between you and the other tenant.
  14. xxalxx

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,302

    Location: Perth, Australia

    Did you physicaly pay the earlier use of electricity, or just give the cash to the other tenact [their son], if you did he could have just been using that cash himself and not paying anything, hence the big bill now.
  15. Russinating


    Joined: 27 Dec 2005

    Posts: 16,499

    Location: Bristol

    I took a meter reading yesterday as I didn't when I left - I know, you learn the hard way. I'll go back at the same time next Monday and multiply the difference by four and subtract this from the total to get an estimation of what it was when I left. Seems like the best I can do.

    In the meantime I've requested...

    ...as per the advice in this thread (thank you!). Let's see what happens! :)
  16. Mr Jack


    Joined: 19 May 2004

    Posts: 22,742

    Location: Nordfriesland, Germany

    What protection scheme is your deposit logged with? Lodge a complaint with them; that looks well out of order.
  17. Showboat

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 11 Sep 2009

    Posts: 2,072

    Location: UK

    This bill has nothing to do with your deposit, he cannot hold it or pass it on to someone else to pay a bill.
    The dispute is between you and the other tenant or you and the electric company. As you are not the bill payer i doubt they would even talk to you. So it's with the other tenant (Unlucky it's their son).

    Get a dispute with the DPS logged asap. (I'm assuming they have passed all the details of the DPS account to you within 14 days of you moving in).

    Also it looks like the have ackowledged the error in meter reading and will refund some, so i cannot fathom why they still want the full (mistake) £700!!!!! ....
  18. Dazza_Random


    Joined: 14 Sep 2007

    Posts: 303

    Do what showboat says - £700 as well for 3months GET the bill - were you trying to run a small data centre or something???
  19. antijoke


    Joined: 28 Jan 2003

    Posts: 38,618

    Location: England

    Surely you should have had your deposit returned to you 10 days after moving out? In line with the TDS? Thus removing this whole thing from happening in the first place?

    AFAIK (from here) this should not be grounds to withold a deposit anyway.

    First I would seek to get the bill, then I would seek further advice.
    Last edited: 1 Jun 2010
  20. Abraham


    Joined: 13 Dec 2002

    Posts: 7,646

    Location: Manchester City Centre

    You should really have got a reading yourself when you moved in, as all you'll have to go off now is either their word or the meter readings by the utility company.