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If Electricity Providers cannot locate account holder can they pursue a tenant even though account is not in their name

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I lived in a property which belonged to a friend for a period of 2 years. There was no tenancy agreement in place as it was to be a temporary measure however a small payment was made monthly to assist my friend with his mortgage payments. My friend had an account with E-On for the supply of electricity however for the duration of the time he owned the property he did not pay any of the bills. This was from 2006 to 2009. I moved to my permanent dwellings and received a letter from E-On stating they have done investigations and they believe I was living in that particular property so therefore responsible for the entire arrears. I had a phone conversation with them and explained I was living there temporarily with my friend and there was no tenancy agreement and i felt that as i am not the account holder or owner of the property they should not be contacting or harrassing me for this. They told me that there is a law which allows them to pursue and make responsible any persons who was living at the property whether account holder or not and it is up to me to prove I did not have a tenancy agreement and further more get the owner of the property to confirm all the above unless I am liable and they will pursue me legally. Can they do this?

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hi

do they have start and end readings of the period concerned ?

do they have the Landlords name ?

why isn't the bill addressed to the LL ?

Who gave them your name ? Your friend ?

Why don't you talk to the LL - your friend ?

Were you on the Council Tax list ? Did you pay other bills ? Is this how they deem you responsible ?

You are only responsible for the period you occupied the property.

They are bound to try it on with you. They haven't been paid for 3 years. But do not worry, you can fight them and win :-)

I got a bill for 6 years and 6k in Dec and am still fighting them, but have whittled it down to almost nothing.

Give some answers to the questions and I am sure others will help out too...

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Hi Thanks for replying!

 

In answer to some of your questions:

 

Yes they do have readings for the start of the account with the landlord and a reading from when the new landlord took over. My friend had the property repossessed. I have spopken with him and he is not interested in speaking with them at all due to the fact that he knows they cannot trace him. The company has his name but does not have his details which is why I believe they are coming after me. They worked out I lived there because I had an account with them for the property I lived in prior to this and there were some arrears which I was and still am paying for. During my stay at my friend's property I set up a payment plan with them and obviously gave them the address where I was staying so there was the trace. The bills used to come in the landlords name however he used to just ignore them. I do understand their point of view with regards to never having at least 1 bill paid to them in 3 years but I cannot see how they can pursue someone who they do not have an account with. During my stay at that property there were no bills at all in my name. The council tax etc all came in his name. E-On are the only company pursuing me.

Edited by DJPlatinum

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The electriity would have been supplied under a 'deemed' contract. These written in terms of the occupier(s) (any adult who lives in the property). As soon as you move in to the property and switch on an electric appliance the contract comes into effect and all occupiers become equally liable for the bills. It is sensible for a utility to put a name on the account to facilitate their business with the property but a named account does not mean that the contract is solely in that name. As soon as a person named on an account leaves the property then he ceases to have any responsiibility for bills except those he incurred during his occupation.

 

Your post is anbiguous as to the facts of occupation and I have chosen what seems to be the most likely.

 

1) Your friend owned a property in which he was an occupant. He is responsible for any bills and arrears for the period up to

 

2) the date you moved in. You stayed 2 years and during this time you are responsible (as is he if living with you) for the bills and arrears for that period.

 

3) As soon as you move out you cease responsibilty for any further bills or or susequent arrears.

 

Your friend has done a bunk. The utility is entitled to recover from you for the cost of electricity that was used in the property whilst you lived in the property - they cannot contact your friend but you were easily traced so they chose you. They cannot recover from you any costs or arrears for any period when you were not in occupation. It is their loss if they cannot contact him.

 

So you must settle your period of occupation with the utility and they must bill you for the charges within the period of your occupattion. If you are satisfied that the bill is correct you must pay it - if you know where your fiend is you should ask him for half these costs. You are not responsible for anything else.

 

I cannot but cooment that he is some friend if he is leaving you with the whole ness. An honouable course of action is to shop him to the utility if he refuses to pay at least his half share during any joint occupation with you.

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I don't like the idea of shopping anyone - friend or not - to the utility companies !!!

I would set them to task on proving the start date reading and end date reading for your occupancy. If you have readings all the better. They will want proof of when you moved in. I guess details of your previous property will do.

I don't know that I would admit that the LL was/is your friend. I would keep your distance. Just advise that you are responsible for this period only. As Pelham says - you can deal with a 50/50 split as a separate issue with your friend later. I guess if he had the house repossessed that he is feeling pretty raw at the moment, hence why he doesnt want to talk money with anyone. Go gentle on him, even if he has kind of landed you in this mess! Friendship is worth much more than satisfaction of a utility bill ;)

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