Hope you can give some advice here. One of my tenants is having a terrible time with their Energy supplier (let's call them E).
We renovated the property during 2013 and just before it was to be let E decided to replace the meter (due to age) and came and installed the new meter. Readings were taken of the old and new meter and agreed.
The tenant moved in early 2014 and I provided E with the initial meter readings and advised tenant to do same. All was accepted as ok and I received and paid our final bill.
Since then the tenant has been paying a monthly amount by direct debit (similar to what we pay)and providing meter readings when requested. About 18 months ago E contacted the tenant to say that the meter readings must be incorrect and they handed her a bill of £850. When she refused to pay this as they are basing it on estimated readings they threatened to enter the property and cut the electric supply. The tenant was in hospital at the time seriously ill with complications from her pregnancy and they said they would still enter without her being there and then send her the bill for removing the meter. Thankfully the tenant had enough about her to tell them what they could do with their threats as they hadn't followed correct procedure at all.
Subsequently they have tried to blame my initial readings and the tenants ongoing readings. The tenant has repeatedly asked them to come and check the readings for themselves but they haven't done so. The tenant has progressed correctly through all levels of complaint and even though E is not meant to 'hassle' her whilst they are still in discussions she keeps getting letters saying they will send bailiffs round etc. Each time she has to call them and tell them she is still in discussions etc and they say 'sorry, you shouldn't have received that letter' - this has happened at least three times!
She has taken it now to the Ombudsman, she has (at my recommendation) kept records of each meter reading, when it was taken, when it was given to E and notes of when she has been in touch with them and who she has spoken to.
To my mind she SHOULD be fine - surely if E won't check the meter readings themselves they can't force her to pay based on estimated readings? If the meter is reading incorrectly, but she had provided the correct details from the meter why would she be liable for their equipment being incorrect? She has said they can have access to check the meter at any time with 24 hours notice and that we would both be there but they won't take her up on it.
Where do we stand as Landlords if E does enter the property and cause damage?
Also, where do we stand if they say that the readings in 2014 were incorrect? (and how could they?) - I don't have photos of the readings as its one of those flashing meters but I do have copies of the report with old and new readings and the signed inventory from when the tenant moved in with the meter readings which we took together on it.
Finally - where does the tenant stand with regards not paying the additional amount? She has continued to pay the monthly amount and the 'arrears' are not increasing which says to me she is paying the correct sum but they are threatening to take her to Court (even though the Ombudsman hasn't ruled yet).
Any advice would be appreciated here!
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