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Un-paid Gas bill by ex-tenant.

Questions & AnswersCategory: General QuestionsUn-paid Gas bill by ex-tenant.
Gordon Bailey asked 12 months ago

I am a Landlord and have been since 2011, this is the date at which I left the property I own in England and I moved out of the city and into a country Cottage. I have been renting out my property through a letting agent and the first tenant I had was for 3 years and the only reason she moved out was because her family was expanding. It was after this I started to have issues with my letting agent as they seemed to have got me another tenant, but shortly after moving in things started to go down hill quite rapidly. The tenants were DSS and they were getting the biggest part of their rent paid by the DSS. However, they just fell further and further behind to the point I had no option but to ask them to leave. I asked the letting agent to arrange to get them evicted, but before this could be done they did a moonlight, Now I was supposed to have any DSS tenants had to be guaranteed. But I found that the letting agent had not been doing their job properly and had in fact cut a lot of corners. To cut a long story short, I had to report the letting agent to the Property Ombudsman and raise complaint which was upheld and I was awarded over £1200 in compensation. However, this came much short of the losses I had suffered from  this last tenant, they left owing nearly £2,500 in back rent. They also damaged the property by painting it bright post box Red, and they stole fixture that were marked down on the inventory list. All in all , I was out of pocket by nearly £3,500. And I had no idea of how I was going to recover my losses, I obviously changed letting agents and spent a huge amount on trying to get the property back in order. But further down the line, and this is what I am mainly writing to you about. Out of the blue, I was contacted by a debt recovery agency who said that I owed EON £450 in unpaid Gas account. Now I have tried to explain to the debt recovery company that I have not lived in the property since 2011. But they said I would have to prove it, by means of any tenancy agreements I might have or proof of paying council tax on the current property I live in on the dates they are looking at, which is 2015/16 over a year of unpaid gas. Now as I moved I seem to have missed placed the tenancy agreement for the tenants that did the runner. And as I had taken the letting agent to the Property Ombudsman all forms of correspondence had broken down and there was no way that I could ask them for help. So I have tried to do everything within my power to show I was not living in the property. I have produced a letter headed document from my current council tax provider, who have confirmed I was living in the said property I currently live in also I had paid the council tax in full and I am currently up to date with my account. I have sent proof I am on the Electra-role register for my current address, I have sent document proof that I had registered with my local medical center in 2011 and have been registered with them continuously, I have sent a copy of TV licences for this property I live in over the time frame that they are seeking payment for. I have also given them a statement from my current supplier of electricity as the property had no gas supply over the period they were seeking. Stating that I have held an account with them since 2011. So I can\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t see what else I can do as I have exhausted every option I know and I have in my opinion shown without doubt that I was not living in the property. I have also found an email from the tenant that give the date they were in on the email for the period that EON are seeking, again showing I was not in the property. However, it would seem that they are still seeking me for this outstanding charge and this is why I am asking Is there anyone out their that has suffered a similar situation and if so how did you deal with it as I am not going or can afford to pay this outstanding bill. I have told the debt recovery that if needed I will seek legal advice and fight this all the way, I have also asked the debt recovery agency to get and give me any documentation proof that I was occupying the property at the time they have said I owe them this bill. Surely if they say I owe it then it is in my right to get them to show proof I was living in the property. Just because you own the property does not mean you were living in the property or just because you own the property does not make you liable for debts from energy suppliers if the property is empty. My property is currently empty and I am just paying the standing charge on both Gas/Elec. So If there are any of you that can help me out or offer me a solution to this issue that does not involve me paying for something I have not had/used/ or being in the property over the time frame they are seeking. I am thinking of fighting this down the legal path and getting them to prove I owe this debt in a court of law. This is the only way I think I can get them to stop pestering and pressuring me. I am Disabled and just live on my benefits, I also recently lost my wife which has placed me deeper in despair and further under pressure I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t need the debt recovery keep sending me letters with my late wife\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s name on the letter, I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve explained my wife has passed away and I am now a widower. But I even have to prove that by sending in documentation that my wife has passed away, all of this is just adding to my depressed state of mind and sending me deeper and deeper down a dark path. I do need all the help I can get not only am I disabled but I have a learning disability as well, I suffer from Dyslexia and understanding certain long words or phrasing or long worded documents leave me at a gasp as I find them hard to follow. So can you please help me get this problem resolved once and for all please I beg you can somebody help me.   

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