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I have an unusual situation. I have a debt for past water charges to my address. However, (1) the debt includes a period of time before I moved there, and (2) the entire debt is in the name of the former tenant (even though half of it should be mine).

 

I'm getting a lot of letters informing me that the debt will now be passed to a Court for enforcement. I'm not in the habit of opening mail not addressed to me, but sometimes the letters are addressed to the 'resident', with the old tenant's name buried further down in the letter, which is how I know about this.

 

Am I liable for this debt not addressed to me? Surely for the debt to go to Court for enforcement, they must be sure who the debt is really intended for (they don't even the first name for the last tenant, just his initial and surname)?

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Have you been in touch with the water company and given details to them that you have moved in. If you are in rented accommodation then just send them a copy when your tenancy started, they will then amend the bill.

It may be possible that the last tenant had not informed them that they had moved, hence why you are getting bills/demands in their name still.

I would rectify this asap before you get stumped with a very large bill.

You will be liable for the debt from the time you moved into the property.

Do they know you have moved in?

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Make sure you tell the water company that the person they have been writing to no longer lives there. If letters from the court do turn up in any other name but yours then you must return them unopened and clearly writing on the envelope that the person does not live there.

If you do not nip this in the bud now in way of trying to resolve this matter with the water company, you may then find things may get a bit sticky for yourself later on.

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Contact them ASAP, and tell them the date you moved in, and ask for an amended bill. Otherwise they will try to make you assume the whole debt, if they get a CCJ for the whole amount, including the previous tenants arrears it is likely to be over £600, if and most likely when they pass it to a HCEO, things will get very messy.

 

Do it now, I think there is a freephone number for water companies availiable in office hours 7 days a week.

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Hi there. I'm new to posting, but I've been reading these forums for some years, and from what I understand (and I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong), unless the debt is in your name, you have nothing to worry about.

 

The water company is not legally allowed to disconnect your supply, and any HCEOs that are sent to enforce the debt have no claim against your possessions, only the one addressed on the debt. You also don't have to let them in, they have no right of forceable entry.

 

Although I would obviously not advise taking this route, I am aware that some people have avoided paying their water bills for years simply because the water company does not have the correct details for the residents of the property (for which they can only blame their own laziness).

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In my opinion this is dangerous ground, if the creditor can

prove who is the occupier over a period of time they could

well be in a position to take action.

Any Letters I Draft are N0T approved by CAG and no personal liability is accepted.

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In my opinion this is dangerous ground, if the creditor can

prove who is the occupier over a period of time they could

well be in a position to take action.

 

Agreed Brigadier OP MUST establish when they took over the supply to avoid being billed for the previous tenant's arrears, the Water Company doesn't care who they chase for the money, as long as they get it, so it is imperative Op makes sure they only pay

for their supply, not the arrears of the previous occupant on top.

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Agreed as most of OUR water supplies are owned

by foreign companies great care is needed.

Any Letters I Draft are N0T approved by CAG and no personal liability is accepted.

Please Consider making a donation to keep this site running!

Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit: Animo et Fide:

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Hi there. I'm new to posting, but I've been reading these forums for some years, and from what I understand (and I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong), unless the debt is in your name, you have nothing to worry about.

 

The water company is not legally allowed to disconnect your supply, and any HCEOs that are sent to enforce the debt have no claim against your possessions, only the one addressed on the debt. You also don't have to let them in, they have no right of forceable entry.

 

Although I would obviously not advise taking this route, I am aware that some people have avoided paying their water bills for years simply because the water company does not have the correct details for the residents of the property (for which they can only blame their own laziness).

 

If enforcement was their way forward and a bailiff did turn up the onus would be on the occupier to prove that they are not the debtor, they would be asked eventually when they moved into the property and the bill would be back dated. There are various ways they can be find out how long you have been living at your present residence. As you have said this is a very risky way or avoiding paying your bills.

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The use of the water supply would be explicit so

strict proof of the start of a tenancy or occupation

will be needed, the failure to register the new

occupation with the water company ''could'' be

interpreted as deliberate avoidence of liability for

the water bills.

Any Letters I Draft are N0T approved by CAG and no personal liability is accepted.

Please Consider making a donation to keep this site running!

Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit: Animo et Fide:

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