Ask an Property Solicitor. Get an Answer ASAP.
Hi, I'm Lea
Is this a tenant in a self-contained property, or a lodger sharing facilities with you?
Why are you paying the utilities? Are they in your name? If so, why is that when you state the utilities are supposed to be paid by the tenants as per the terms of the lease?
What reason did they give for not paying the utilities?
Are they still paying the rent?
In that case what you need to do is send them a pre-action letter stating how much they owe in utilities and giving them a deadline by which to pay it. Inform them that if the bills are not paid by that date you will not notify them further but will issue proceedings for a small claim.
You can then file for the return of your money by issuing a money claim at Money Claims Online (MCOL) or via an N1 claim form. You will be able to ask for the payment of the bills, plus the money you spent issuing the claim.
Remember that the tenants are entitled to see all the actual bills from the utility companies, so if they ask for evidence of the amounts owed, provide it to them.
You don't seem to have acknowledged my response, can I just check that you did in fact receive it?
All the best.