OpenRent Community

Can I charge a tenant

Hi
My tenant reported a fault on the boiler, I went round and it wouldn’t reset and my tenant told me there was credit on the meter, so I called a heating engineer out, there wasn’t a fault on the boiler. The problem was ‘found smart meter turned off so not letting gas through’. Can I charge my tenant the £66 bill I’ve been given as the gas supply is not my responsibility. Thanks

You can try… .is the smart meter in an area where someone else could have turned it off?

Meter is in the sink unit, there’s four children in the house but I can’t see any of them switching it off.

I dont know how you turn a smart meter off. If its push button then maybe the kids fiddled with it. Tricky one

Hi Helen, I think you’d only be able to charge this if:

  • such a fee was described in your tenancy agreement. E.g. Tenants will pay a callout fee of £50 if the attendance of workpeople is required due to tenants causing damage to the property that requires professional repair.
  • you had agreed in writing with the tenants before calling the engineer that they would pay for the engineer

Otherwise, they could just say ‘no, we did not agree to this charge and we are not paying it’.

Sam

Hi Adam
Thanks for your reply, my thinking was that the meter is the utility company and the tenant as the user responsibility. I’ve discovered if there is a fault on the meter the utility company will pay the bill but if it’s something the tenant has or hasn’t done then they won’t pay. Therefore I’m inclined to ask the tenant to pay the bill.

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Sorry should say ‘ Hi Sam’ don’t know where Adam came from.

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Helen6 good luck with getting a payment .Let us know

You probably have nothing to lose by trying to charge your tenant. Unless they are good tenants in every other way and this could damage your relationship.
You may want to try and negotiate and ask then to pay half the charge, as it certainly isn’t your fault that the smart meter was turned off, but it could well be theirs.

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I understand your points @Helen6 and @Jennifer5. You could definitely ask them.

But as I say above, if the fees aren’t agreed to, the tenant could easily just say no.

Sam

Your best bet is to put it down to experience and tell them if it happens again they have to pay. Write it out for them and personally give it to them

The situation at the moment is that my tenant has to contact Boost her gas supplier and find out if there was a fault with the meter, only she can do this as they won’t give me that information and she is dragging her feet in getting this done. Therefore I’ve given her until the end of the week for some answers and if I haven’t heard from her I shall send her a bill, whether she pays or not we’ll have to see. I’ve also said that in future I will not call an engineer out unless I’ve got confirmation from Boost that there’s no fault on the meter, this will obviously cause delays getting any genuine problem with the boiler fixed (which is only 4 years old) leaving her without heat/warm water potentially longer than it would have been otherwise. This goes against how I normally operate as a landlord, as i do my upmost to resolve any problems immediately/asap after they have been reported.

Helen 2 Keep a log of every action, in case needed in the future

Another reason for not having a smart meter

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From my experience being a gas heating and emergency engineer I would get your tenant to call the emergency line for a no gas. If it’s a situation with the meter they will sort out there and then for no fee. If it was a boiler breakdown then you will no for sure and will have to pay an engineer to investigate. I’m not sure I would charge my tenant in this case as it may have not been their fault. Hope this helps

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Hi
Boost energy have said they will pay if the fault was the meter, but my tenant has to ring them and ask them to check it out, it’s been over a fortnight and she hasn’t called them, I’ve given her all the info needed, but she’s got more important things to do like going on holiday. It’s one phone call and she can give her permission for Boost to deal with me directly if she doesn’t want to deal with it herself.

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