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SolicitorRM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3901
Experience:  Director and Principal Solicitor. UK
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I have lived in a rented flat for over 6 years now, the

Customer Question

Hello I have lived in a rented flat for over 6 years now, the advertisement for the property, which I have a copy of said includeds electric and water. I had to move into the flat rather quick as I got offered a job on the thursday and had to start Monday. So found the flat, sorted out the documents etc and asked whilst signed the docs that it did include electric and water and the lady at the rental place said yes. So went about sorting out the gas etc. The contract I got through was incorrect and I contacted the tenancy team and said it stated the wrong thing and never got a correct contract but did get verbal acknowledgement that it did include what was advertised. Skip forward to last year and then a £1000 plus bill comes through electric wil my name on, so I phone the tenancy management team and said what the hell was going on to which they said the landlord has increased the rent for a few years so wanted to get a new one signed. Which I said okay not a problem but you can't just suddenly transfer over the account with no notice or agreement. Over about a year or so there was a lot of back and forth and also a lot of nothing happening from their end until about march when the tenancy guys finally came round to take a meter reading from when I would take over the electric, and I signed a new agreement stating that. It was st this point also that I received more bills to my flat with a gas debt on it also which I am still trying to deal with as the gas meter on that bill was not the one supplying mine, as I have been paying gas for the last 6 years. This has caused me quite a lot of stress trying to get this sorted because the Scottish power guys are demanding money for a meter that isn't mine and was registered to to the wrong address. The electric meter was also registered to the wrong address. I only found this out whilst trying to take over the electric. I have received zero support from the landlord or the letting agency in getting the meters registered to the correct addresses which I dont think is my responsibility. Scottish Power gave been kind of helpful in trying to update this for me as I explained the situation and that it was stressing me out. This is still ongoing though and I'm am just only now able to pay the debt off for the usage since february/March which I took over, but the gas meter is still in my name even though its not the one for my address. I have fair amount of correspondence showing all this, but I can't seem to find any proof of the acknowledgement that it was electric in water included. But the bill is only for 1149. Which cant be the usage for 6 years, so someone must have been paying it for quite a while before the bills started coming to me. So in itself if that can be identified is acknowledgement for the original agreement, plus like previously mentioned I have the orignal ad for the flat. Do I have a leg to stand on or am I going to end up paying the bill. Thanks Matt
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have some paperwork
Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: Nope
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  SolicitorRM replied 7 months ago.

Hi thank you for your enquiry and your patience. It sounds very complex and stressful, however what you have explained is a classic breach of contract claim. You have the original tenancy agreement, you rely on it and if the landlord believes there is something different the burden is on them to prove otherwise. The supplier will bill the occupant because that is who is using their Utilities. So anything claimed from you directly you are within your right to claim reimbursement from your landlord. From March you have agreed a new contract and as such there shouldn’t be a problem. Now the supplier has to make sure they are billing the correct property. You are obliged to settle bills for what you have consumed and that can’t leave the situation unresolved indefinitely. You are the lawful occupant, you do not need to be the owner to challenge a supplier. Send them a formal complaint and giving them 14 days to correct the meters and if they do not you should request their final decision letter to enable you to escalate the issue to the Ombudsman service: energy. You can complain to them online.
the landlord you should send them a letter of claim requesting that they settle the bills relating to prior to March and if you have paid any of it to reimburse you within 28 days, failing which you can submit a claim in the county court money claims centre. You use form N1, attach your particulars of claim and evidence of you all included tenancy agreement and the bills that relate to the time before change of tenancy. You will also need to download form X50 which tells you of the fees payable when you file the claim. Next steps are advised to you by the court. I hope this helps and I would be grateful for your rating at your earliest convenience. All the best