Unpaid Heating bill by Tenant

I have rented an apartment in the apartment block and the tenant didn’t pay the heating bill before moving out in 2018. Building management company wrote me a letter in this regard and I’ve provided them tenants new postal address and phone number and asked them to contact the old tenants directly but apparently they were not able to recover £339 of outstanding bills.

Now the new building management company has taken over and asking me to pay this outstanding bill of £339 plus £240 for legal cost. Is this justified?

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Who has sent the bill for the electric? Hasn’t this come from the utility provider and addressed to the tenant?

For you to be liable to management company there would need to be a contract stipulating this. Ask them what clause they are relying upon.

Heating is centrally provided by ISTA and they send bill to the inhabitants of each apartment

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My opinion is this clause is BS and could be deemed as unfair. It leaves it far too open ended.

One issue is if they pursue the tenant it will cost all leaseholders as it will come out of sinking fund or your fees may go up.

I think you will need to take the hit on this on balance and pursue tenant personally. I would certainly not be paying the legal costs element though.

I’m sorry to hear the bother you have had with tenant no paying heating bill.

I have installed pay as you, for this very purpose!

Hope you manage to get it sorted out!

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How do you install pay as you go? We have it in some flats but not in the last one. Do you invite an electrical engineer? Is it expensive?

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Fortunately, I had a pre paid gas and electric meter installed in my council flat, before I purchased the leasehold. I’ve now since had a smart pay ad you go fitted.

Maybe you could contact the suppliers of gas / electric when the property is vacant or during (depending on tenants) and request them to fit smart meters pay as you go.

I can’t see why they wouldn’t want to do this?!
I’m not sure, if you would get billed, but I didn’t.

The government are pushing for smart meters

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I have paid the actual outstanding bill of £345 last week but the paralegal has added £200 to their claim in their invoice plus another £100 last week due to additional correspondence we had in this regards.
I am not sure if it is fair to charge all these charges specially if I have been offering my help and providing them tenants contact details.

Appreciate your advise on this?

Any feedback now?

Tough situation. If it were me I would consider consulting with a solicitor who’s a specialist in this area. You will be able to get an initial consultation at no fee.

The issue you have is clearly time scales and extra fees being added on. I hate the leverage freeholders have in these types of circumstances.

I’ve tagged @David122 and @EmanNeercs as they may be able to give some insight.

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Ive replied on another forum, but basically if the OP has good evidence that the tenant is contractually bound to pay the bill, they can sue them through MCOL.

Going forward I would suggest its paid by the landlord and added to the monthly rent payments.

I’ve stopped replying to the law firm so they are now calling me. What do you suggest I should tell them with regards to legal fee?

I note that the Nat Res Landlords Assn has advised that where the landlords lease requires them to pay the bill, they will not be able to provide evidence that the tenant owes the money and that MCOL is not applicable. If thats the case then my post above is wrong and you will have to pay this bill yourself.

Do you think that the open ended clause they have specified is open to being challenged?

Long leases often include onerous covenants and @Moizza would need to get legal opinion on whether they would hold up if challenged. However, what I think can be challenged is the bill for legal fees. The company’s position is that the leaseholder is ultimately responsible, so why did they spend money to chase the tenant for payment once this was not forthcoming? This seems like a flawed procedure. Either they accept that the tenant is responsible or they don’t. If they’ve wasted their money on legal fees, then that is not the responsibility of the leaseholder.

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Absolutely makes sense…