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Tenants Threatened with warrant, managing agent owes the money!


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Hi all, I hope you can help.

 

I am a tenant in a building of around 20 studio flats which was a former commercial premises.

 

A property management company bought the building with the intention of applying for planning permission to convert it into a hotel in 2/3 years. In the meantime, they have converted the interior into studios and tenants such as me are living there and paying rent.

 

Our tenancy agreements explicitly state that the management company pays for electricity charges.

 

The company used to actually have an office in this building but have since moved out. Since then, post has piled up. They know it, because they are often round to do viewings for potential new tenants.

 

Around a week ago we got a letter addressed to "The Occupier" marked "ELECTRICITY DISCONNECTION NOTICE" from Haven Power:

 

--------------------------------------------------

Haven Power

The Havens

Ransomes Europark

Ipswich IP3 9SJ

 

Dear Sirs

 

Electricity Supply to:

Supply Number:

Account Reference:

 

Haven Power is the electricity supplier to the above premises.

 

If you are the current occupier please complete the slip below and return to us at the above address.

 

Please note that if we do not receive a response in connection with this meter within the next 7 days we will be requesting disconnection, with no further correspondence being entered into.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Credit Management Advisor

--------------------------------------------------------

 

 

I immediately told the property agent and they said they would look into it. I heard nothing and today a collection agency has visited the building while I was at work, and were unable to get in. They left this letter:

 

---------------------------

 

Date: 16/4/13

 

The Occupier,

 

Customer Reference:

Outstanding Balance: £33,943.37

 

We act as authorised officers of Haven Power Limi8ted on behalf of and your account has been passed to us for collection. We called today to discuss your unpaid account, the details are shown above.

 

As we were unable to resolve the outstanding amount and/or gain access we now serve notice of our intention to make applications for a Warrant of Entry (Gas and Electricty Boards) Act 1954, Section 2, from the Magistrates Court, to enter the premises and disconnect the supply. The warrant gives us authority to enter your premises without your consent and if necessary, we may be assisted by the police.

 

If the warrant is actioned then costs will be charged to you. This will need to be paid, along with your electricity charges up to the date your supply is connected, before reconnection is arranged.

 

Reconnection will be arranged once the outstanding balance and the warrant costs have been paid. You may also be required to pay a security deposit.

 

Haven Power Limited, and will not be held responsible for any loss of earnings or other expenses incurred during the period you are disconnected.

 

If it is your gas supply that we disconnect you may be responsible for arranging and paying a Gas Safe registered engineer to make safe your supply prior to reconnection. This can cost you around £60 depending on the engineer.

 

Please contact "B" on 01707 252900 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to arrange payment or to discuss matters which are preventing payment.

 

Yours,

 

Recoveries Agent

 

 

Registered Office:

---------------------------

 

 

I am obviously quite worried. My first instinct is to call the agency above and Haven Power but I'm actually worried that as soon as I say I am a tenant, they will change "THE OCCUPIER" to my own name! And yet my property agent appear to be doing nothing! They always promise something and fail to do it. I feel like they are giving me the runaround.

 

Do you have any suggestion for my rights, can we stop this disconnection? Should I just cancel my tenancy? Refuse to pay next month's rent? Leave as soon as possible? Should I attempt to call either of the two agencies or Haven Power? I am even thinking of going to all the other tenants and suggesting we all stop paying rent until this is resolved.

 

Any advice you can give us is greatly appreciated. :sad:

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So how do you and the rest of the tenant pay for electric you used ?

 

If you withhold your rent unfortunately after 8 weeks of rent arrears your LL can serve notice and get possession order,which is mandatory when it comes to a AST !

 

how long have you lived there out of interest,how long is your tenancy agreement for ?

 

It may be a idea to start looking ASAP for somewhere else to live,if they want to convert the place to a hotel and post is piling up,not to mention the £33,943.37 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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Hi, thanks for replying.

 

I've been here for 6 months (6 month contract) and now I'm just rolling and can give a month's notice anytime.

 

This place seems to be ruled by incompetents. If something breaks, it eventually gets fixed but not for a while.

 

And yet they still show people around for viewings, they have even recently put signs outside the building saying "Let by" i.e. advertising. Of course, whoever came today didn't think to call them.

 

It's very strange because they are nice people to deal with and occasionally they act promptly. But at other times they are totally incompetent.

 

And I am worried about this outstanding amount, it seems dodgy. And yet it doesn't tally with the fact that they openly are talking with the council to gain permission long term to convert into a hotel. They are clearly not going to run away. I have posted today's letter in plain sight on the entrance door and a number of us are going to call the property management company tomorrow.

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Hi, thanks for replying.

 

I've been here for 6 months (6 month contract) and now I'm just rolling and can give a month's notice anytime.

 

This place seems to be ruled by incompetents. If something breaks, it eventually gets fixed but not for a while.

 

And yet they still show people around for viewings, they have even recently put signs outside the building saying "Let by" i.e. advertising. Of course, whoever came today didn't think to call them.

 

It's very strange because they are nice people to deal with and occasionally they act promptly. But at other times they are totally incompetent.

 

And I am worried about this outstanding amount, it seems dodgy. And yet it doesn't tally with the fact that they openly are talking with the council to gain permission long term to convert into a hotel. They are clearly not going to run away. I have posted today's letter in plain sight on the entrance door and a number of us are going to call the property management company tomorrow.

 

So how do you and rest of the tenants pay for the Electric you have used ?

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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Is it just you that has received this letter or have other flats in the building as well?

 

How do you actually pay for your electricity or does your Tenancy Agreement state that electricity in included in the rent?

 

Do your flats have individual electricity meters?

 

Is it the Building address they are using or the building address with your specific flat number?

 

Looking at Haven Powers website: http://www.havenpower.com/customer-service they are a Business electricity Supplier

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Is it just you that has received this letter or have other flats in the building as well?

 

How do you actually pay for your electricity or does your Tenancy Agreement state that electricity in included in the rent?

 

Do your flats have individual electricity meters?

 

Is it the Building address they are using or the building address with your specific flat number?

 

Looking at Haven Powers website they are a Business electricity Supplier

 

 

 

The flats don't have individual electric meters. There must be one for the entire building somewhere. We have individual breakers/fuse boxes or whatever they are called, but no individual meters.

 

The first letter was addressed to "The Occupant". The second one was hand delivered and not in an envelope, just shoved under the door. They are addressing the the street address of the building and not to any individual flat inside.

 

Yes, the Haven customer reference they are using has a partial name of the old occupant of the building when it was purely commercial. They went bust around two years ago. At 30k, it seems almost as if the electric has never been paid for.

 

Weird thing is, if they were trying to fleece us, why are they still running a normal property management service, with a proper office of several employees, other properties and tenants etc. They even have a modern IT system. It just doesn't make sense.

 

 

Do you think it's safe to talk to Haven and give them my name? Or will they try to put all this palava in my name? Because normally that might give them a better chance of recovering debt and they'll be itching to do so?

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The flats don't have individual electric meters. There must be one for the entire building somewhere. We have individual breakers/fuse boxes or whatever they are called, but no individual meters.

 

The first letter was addressed to "The Occupant". The second one was hand delivered and not in an envelope, just shoved under the door. They are addressing the the street address of the building and not to any individual flat inside.

 

Yes, the Haven customer reference they are using has a partial name of the old occupant of the building when it was purely commercial. They went bust around two years ago. At 30k, it seems almost as if the electric has never been paid for.

 

Weird thing is, if they were trying to fleece us, why are they still running a normal property management service, with a proper office of several employees, other properties and tenants etc. They even have a modern IT system. It just doesn't make sense.

 

 

Do you think it's safe to talk to Haven and give them my name? Or will they try to put all this palava in my name? Because normally that might give them a better chance of recovering debt and they'll be itching to do so?

 

 

 

I think the best people to contact is your local housing dept http://local.direct.gov.uk/LDGRedirect/Start.do?mode=1

 

and ask for TRO office "Tenancy relation officers" and tell them what's going on,failing that contact your local CAB office http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

 

TRO can help with private tenants issues and in certain cases can take legal action against a LL.

 

The Council has a power under S.33 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, to make arrangements to secure the restoration or continuance of gas, water or electricity supplies for the benefit of residents (usually tenants) where the supplies have been, or are likely to be, cut off because of failure by the owner of the property to pay for the services.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1976/57

 

I would Not talk Haven,let the TRO do that or solicitors if it comes to that

 

Start looking for somewhere else to live asap as something doesn't sound right where you live ...

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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Hi everyone,

 

Thanks again for your help so far.

 

So today I called the property management company. I was quite annoyed and assertive but without having a pop. They said that the person who does billing was off sick and would be in tomorrow.

 

I was quite annoyed by their lack of action. The manager explained to me that she had a colleague phone them. When I asked "who?", whether Haven or one of the collection companies, she didn't even know! Quite typical, really! Who knows, could have been an outright lie. This manager loves to delegate but never takes charge.

 

So I underlined to her how serious this was due to the stage of the creditor's action and the number of people impacted. I said that I would hope that her manager or the directors of the company were aware of this and she said that they were. Whether that is true or not, I don't know.

 

Then when I pushed further, she said that one of the debt collecting companies had called the office. Perhaps they had read the obvious signs outside advertising this company and had only decided to follow up the next day. Or perhaps another outright lie, who knows!

 

At this point, I decided to email Haven from an anonymous email account. I got a prompt reply from the worker in charge of the case who said simply:

 

"Thank you for your email. I have sent this on to (debt collection agency) to contact ."

 

Hopefully this means that we won't get hassled anymore. I will be phoning the mgmt company again tomorrow to see where we are at.

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Hi everyone,

 

Thanks again for your help so far.

 

So today I called the property management company. I was quite annoyed and assertive but without having a pop. They said that the person who does billing was off sick and would be in tomorrow.

 

I was quite annoyed by their lack of action. The manager explained to me that she had a colleague phone them. When I asked "who?", whether Haven or one of the collection companies, she didn't even know! Quite typical, really! Who knows, could have been an outright lie. This manager loves to delegate but never takes charge.

 

So I underlined to her how serious this was due to the stage of the creditor's action and the number of people impacted. I said that I would hope that her manager or the directors of the company were aware of this and she said that they were. Whether that is true or not, I don't know.

 

Then when I pushed further, she said that one of the debt collecting companies had called the office. Perhaps they had read the obvious signs outside advertising this company and had only decided to follow up the next day. Or perhaps another outright lie, who knows!

 

At this point, I decided to email Haven from an anonymous email account. I got a prompt reply from the worker in charge of the case who said simply:

 

"Thank you for your email. I have sent this on to (debt collection agency) to contact ."

 

Hopefully this means that we won't get hassled anymore. I will be phoning the mgmt company again tomorrow to see where we are at.

 

Did say Not to contact Haven and let others do that !

 

It's Not your debt and it's Not in your name

 

Have to contacted the council or CAB yet as I suggested.

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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Did say Not to contact Haven and let others do that !

 

It's Not your debt and it's Not in your name

 

Have to contacted the council or CAB yet as I suggested.

 

 

I missed that part.

 

However, I did it anonymously. So I don't see any way that Haven could try anything on. Now Haven are aware that the management company lease the place out. Before that, they had no idea. I'm hoping this will stop the collectors coming to the building. Surely it's only a matter of time before they figure out what is going on anyway. I made it clear that they best recover their money by going directly to the management company. Remember, this is a company who has invested in this building for a long term project. Unless they want to lose their investment, they cannot just close shop and disappear. On balance, I figured that deflecting attention away from us and onto the management company was a good idea.

 

No I have not contacted the CAB (are they actually useful?). I did not contact the council either. I think it's worth at least trying to see what the managing agent are going to do first. Remember we discovered the letter after office hours yesterday.

 

If I'm not happy with their response tomorrow I will go to the council. I looked at their site and found nothing about TRO unfortunately.

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I missed that part.

 

However, I did it anonymously. So I don't see any way that Haven could try anything on. Now Haven are aware that the management company lease the place out. Before that, they had no idea. I'm hoping this will stop the collectors coming to the building. Surely it's only a matter of time before they figure out what is going on anyway. I made it clear that they best recover their money by going directly to the management company. Remember, this is a company who has invested in this building for a long term project. Unless they want to lose their investment, they cannot just close shop and disappear. On balance, I figured that deflecting attention away from us and onto the management company was a good idea.

 

No I have not contacted the CAB (are they actually useful?). I did not contact the council either. I think it's worth at least trying to see what the managing agent are going to do first. Remember we discovered the letter after office hours yesterday.

 

If I'm not happy with their response tomorrow I will go to the council. I looked at their site and found nothing about TRO unfortunately.

 

Try under Private tenancy unit of your local council ....

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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You might also try contacting Shelter they don't just deal with Homelessness, and might be able to advise you.

 

You can also telephone them on a weekend.

 

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice

 

Have you spoken to all the other tenants to make sure you are all singing off the same hymn sheet ?

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thanks.

 

I spoke to the management company again and the manager said that the director was looking into it. Quote:

 

"My director is dealing with it. He reassured that no warrants or disconnection will take place."

 

Seems I have to just hope for the best and trust in them. Given that they are making money from rentals and they want to use the site in future, I can't see that they would risk the disconnection. I am not sure if it's worth taking any further action at this stage. I am considering handing in a month's notice soon anyway, even before all this happened, as I don't like the area anymore. We also have some youths doing anti-social behaviour round the back of the building.

 

The other tenants are typical of London, they just don't care. I'd be amazed if even half of them read the letter as few of them are even English!

 

I guess I will just stay put. If the electric goes out, I will move out. If it doesn't, I will stay.

 

edit: I have emailed the council. They have an email address. I will follow up in a couple of days if no response. I did make it clear in the subject that 20+ tenants are affected.

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The flats don't have individual electric meters. There must be one for the entire building somewhere. We have individual breakers/fuse boxes or whatever they are called, but no individual meters.

 

 

Another thing OP and the rest of the tenants need to think about

 

Are they been Over charged for there Electric used,there No meter in the flats how do the tenants know

 

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/domestic-consumers/Pages/Resaleofgasandelectricity.aspx

 

The maximum amount landlords or “resellers” are permitted to charge for gas or electricity is the amount they have paid for it, plus VAT at the appropriate rate. If the existing energy supplier applies a standing charge this can be recovered on pro-rata basis according to the usage of all those supplied at a particular property or site.

Find some where else to live with Meters ....

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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Another thing OP and the rest of the tenants need to think about

 

Are they been Over charged for there Electric used,there No meter in the flats how do the tenants know

 

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/domestic-consumers/Pages/Resaleofgasandelectricity.aspx

 

Find some where else to live with Meters ....

If it is included in the rent, hardly likely they are being overcharged therefore Ofgem would not be involved.

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Ofgem wouldn't necessary have to be involved !

 

If a tenant could prove deliberate overcharging by LL/LA they could take legal action via the civil courts ...

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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