Who pays utilities & tax when tenant abandons property

My tenant abandoned my property after only 2 months of a 12 month contract. He just send me an e-mail saying he was leaving. It also looks like he hasn’t paid any bills.

In this case who is liable for the utility and council tax bills. I assume he pays for when he occupied the unit but what about the bills from now until I get the next tenant?

Also, should I even contact the utility companies at this point or because he is still under contract just leave it until I get the next tenant?

Any help appreciated

Hi Martin,

We’re sorry to hear of these issues.

Please drop us an email at https://www.openrent.co.uk/faq#i-have-more-questions and we’ll be able to assist you.

Kind Regards,

Why don’t you put in meters; you can have a meter for the gas, electric and water. With regard to the council tax when the tenant leaves ring the Council immediately and tell them and tell them when your new tenant moves in.
That’s what I have done and it works.

Hi Martin,

I had a similar situation like you, the tenant leaving within few days of tenancy start.

I contacted electricity company who said they will keep the account in the name of tenant until either the AST term ends (6 months) or until I inform them that a new tenant is in occupation of the property.

Within 3 weeks of tenant moving in/out, landlord is required to inform council of the change. From the date tenant leaves the property, landlord is responsible for paying the council tax. For the period tenant was in property he is responsible for paying it the council tax provided landlord has registered his name with the council. However, in my case council told me that I can legally charge the tenant remainder of 6 months council tax and they have no objection to it (from which you can keep paying council).

The water supply company said no bill is not generated if the property is empty so tenant will be charged until date of occupation.

As a landlord I promptly register them in tenant’s name the day tenancy starts. I do not leave it to the tenant to do so. That way if the tenant does not pay, it is between tenant and council/utility company.

I am sure there will be many flavors of this problem that landlord face, but this is from my experience.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Moti,

That was useful input. I think my problem is understanding the legal definition of the tenant leaving. It’s an unusual situation in that they left the majority of their belongings in the apartment and even the car in the parking spot. I can’t rent it like this so my assumption is that they are effectively still renting the apartment and have not informed any utilities as yet. I am looking into what are my legal options to remove the contents and car.