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  • FIRST POST
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 6th Feb 18, 7:29 PM
    • 15Posts
    • 1Thanks
    peace_lily
    Lodger advice needed - bills after vacating
    • #1
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:29 PM
    Lodger advice needed - bills after vacating 6th Feb 18 at 7:29 PM
    Hi there

    For the last year I have been subletting from a tenant, who is letting from a landlord (with landlord's permission).

    Back in January I gave my 8 weeks notice (as stated in our original agreement), meaning the last day would be 28th Feb.

    I moved out on 31st January, vacated the property and gave returned the keys.

    I have explained that I have informed the council that I have moved, and therefore they do not expect me to pay council tax for this property.

    She told me last week when I moved out that the next day, she would contact the energy supplier for a final bill up to the date I moved out.

    However, she has now told me that I will still owe her money for ALL bills, including energy bills and council tax, up to the final date on my notice period. It was not stated on our original agreement that rent and bills would be paid up until the end of the 8 week notice period - I'm not sure if this is relevant, or if it is implied in the agreement and does not need to be stated explicitly?

    Rent and bills (with a breakdown) were listed separately on the 'original agreement'. Since our original agreement, she has also charged me another £70.50 on top of our original agreement for energy bills, which I dutifully paid without having access to the energy bills. I have also paid an additional £120 for council tax, as she had been fraudulently claiming single person discount which I was not aware of, and then when the council found out she demanded that I pay the difference, which I paid despite my being liable in the eyes of the council. Although- she tried to charge me £200 for this as it turns out she had also been underpaying council tax anyway! I also paid her £55 when she renewed her own contract with her landlord, as I didn't want to cause any problems with her as she can (obviously) be very difficult. At that time she said if I wanted to stay that I should contribute to that charge.

    I have agreed to pay rent up until the last day of my notice period.

    Any advice on what I should do? I have already paid her so much extra money on top of our original agreement, and really don't feel as though I'm liable for these bills now that I've given the key back and vacated the property, and informed the council.

    Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks
Page 1
    • Wanderingpomm
    • By Wanderingpomm 6th Feb 18, 7:35 PM
    • 52 Posts
    • 36 Thanks
    Wanderingpomm
    • #2
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:35 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:35 PM
    There is nothing she can do so I would block her number on my phone and chalk it up to experience. She!!!8217;s had enough
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 6th Feb 18, 7:45 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    peace_lily
    • #3
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:45 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:45 PM
    Should probably have also mentioned, she has £1200 of my money as a deposit!

    So don't really want to just let that go...!
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 6th Feb 18, 7:48 PM
    • 923 Posts
    • 339 Thanks
    sevenhills
    • #4
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:48 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:48 PM
    My lodger pays me £10 per night, a week at a time and in advance, I guess you have a very different arrangement.
    Sounds like you have paid enough to me.

    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 6th Feb 18, 7:51 PM
    • 424 Posts
    • 447 Thanks
    HampshireH
    • #5
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:51 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:51 PM
    Does your tenancy say you are liable for bills for the duration of your tenancy. If so why would the last 8 weeks be exempt?

    I understand why you would feel energy bills may not be as you aren't using it (through choice). Really does depend on what you agrčed.

    2 months is very generous notice for a lodger
    • G_M
    • By G_M 6th Feb 18, 7:53 PM
    • 43,185 Posts
    • 50,750 Thanks
    G_M
    • #6
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:53 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:53 PM
    Strictly speaking you owe rent and utilitties as per your contract till your licence to occupy expires.

    Having said that, if you're not living there, it's a pretty tight landlord who demands utility payments.

    Trouble is, "possession is 9/10ths of the law" and the landlord possesses your deposit.......
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 6th Feb 18, 7:55 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    peace_lily
    • #7
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:55 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:55 PM
    I don't have a tenancy agreement.

    No, our original agreement by email does not say that explicitly say that I am liable for bills for the duration of my tenancy including the notice period. I agree that if this was stated explicitly, of course I would pay! It's a bit of a grey area I suppose.

    This is one of my questions.
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 6th Feb 18, 7:59 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    peace_lily
    • #8
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:59 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Feb 18, 7:59 PM
    2 months notice is what stated on our original agreement, and so that's what I gave
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 6th Feb 18, 8:00 PM
    • 424 Posts
    • 447 Thanks
    HampshireH
    • #9
    • 6th Feb 18, 8:00 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Feb 18, 8:00 PM
    You would technically be expected to pay for the duration of the agreememt
    • CIS
    • By CIS 6th Feb 18, 8:40 PM
    • 10,282 Posts
    • 5,918 Thanks
    CIS
    I have explained that I have informed the council that I have moved, and therefore they do not expect me to pay council tax for this property.
    Is your 'landlord' living in the property ?
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead as a self employed consultant. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 6th Feb 18, 9:21 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    peace_lily
    CIS - yes my 'landlord' (the tenant) lives in the property. The actual landlord (owner) of the property does not.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 6th Feb 18, 9:31 PM
    • 10,282 Posts
    • 5,918 Thanks
    CIS
    CIS - yes my 'landlord' (the tenant) lives in the property. The actual landlord (owner) of the property does not.
    Originally posted by peace_lily
    "I have explained that I have informed the council that I have moved, and therefore they do not expect me to pay council tax for this property. "
    . As your 'landlord' was resident in the property then you would not be liable for the council tax charge on the property - If you have received any council tax notices in your name you need to go back to the council.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead as a self employed consultant. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 6th Feb 18, 10:56 PM
    • 43,185 Posts
    • 50,750 Thanks
    G_M
    Council tax does not seem to be the issue - it's the utilities.

    No, our original agreement by email does not say that explicitly say that I am liable for bills for the duration of my tenancy including the notice period.
    It does not need to.

    Putting aside the pedantic point that it's not a tenancy, if the contract specifies rent and utility bills are payable, that means until the contract ends (unless otherwise stipulated).
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 7th Feb 18, 8:30 AM
    • 11,658 Posts
    • 16,401 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    If it were me I don't know that I would pay the bills she is demanding, especially not the council tax because your ex-landlord seems to be making up the amounts as she goes along.

    Instead I would request my full deposit back and if it wasn't forthcoming I would send her a letter before action.

    I wonder if your ex-LL has been declaring the rental income to HMRC? £1,200 is a lot for a lodger's deposit so I guess you live in London or the South East where rent is high and 12 months worth of rent exceeds the Rent a Room allowance.

    https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/rent-bills-and-tax
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 7th Feb 18, 9:52 AM
    • 1,112 Posts
    • 751 Thanks
    saajan_12
    You have a licence not a tenancy, as you're a lodger not a tenant.

    Legally, rent and bills are due for the duration of your licence - that only terminates when your notice expires, not when you move out.

    Morally, much of utility bills come from fixed or standing charges, so hardly reduce when you move out. Based on your agreement, the LL bargained on getting your contribution to these standing charges throughout your licence, and cannot get someone else in as you still have a licence to occupy. So, it's unfair for the LL to have to cover a bigger share of the standing charges just because you move out early.
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 7th Feb 18, 12:53 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    peace_lily
    Pixie - yes, London, you are correct. The amount I have paid to her in rent and bills does indeed exceed £7,500.

    Is there anything I can do about this..? Ie. To find out if she has declared the money to HMRC?

    Yes, she has been making up the amounts as she goes along. No update on the utility bill- perhaps she has become aware it is illegal to overcharge for this....
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 7th Feb 18, 1:08 PM
    • 11,658 Posts
    • 16,401 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    Pixie - yes, London, you are correct. The amount I have paid to her in rent and bills does indeed exceed £7,500.

    Is there anything I can do about this..? Ie. To find out if she has declared the money to HMRC?

    Yes, she has been making up the amounts as she goes along. No update on the utility bill- perhaps she has become aware it is illegal to overcharge for this....
    Originally posted by peace_lily
    The tax she pays is between her and HMRC, you won't be able to find out. All you can do is report her to HMRC is you suspect that she might be guilty of tax evasion.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/reporting-tax-evasion

    It is possible that she has opted not to use the Rent a Room scheme and instead reports the income and expenses to HMRC. However, given the CT issue my money would be on her not declaring the rental income.

    The above is just a course of action that could irritate your landlord and put some much needed money in the UK's coffers. It won't actually solve the issue with the utility bills.

    Regarding the bills your options are to:

    1) Agree to pay whatever she asks.

    2) Negotiate a different amount.

    3) Refuse to pay.

    If you opt for number 3 and she deducts the money from your deposit then you can let a court decide.
    • peace_lily
    • By peace_lily 12th Feb 18, 2:58 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    peace_lily
    I decided to pay the money for an easy life.....she started threatening to take money out of my deposit if her bank charged her for my money being late (I know she couldn't have done this, but it was all getting quite stressful as she was being pretty nasty)

    So now I have paid all the money she wants, vacated the property and returned the keys (2 weeks ago now).

    I have asked when she will be returning my deposit.

    She is saying she will not return it until the theoretical end of my tenancy. Am I entitled to my deposit back now, seeing as there are no outstanding charges?
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 12th Feb 18, 8:19 AM
    • 5,965 Posts
    • 5,446 Thanks
    00ec25
    I decided to pay the money for an easy life.....she started threatening to take money out of my deposit if her bank charged her for my money being late (I know she couldn't have done this, but it was all getting quite stressful as she was being pretty nasty)

    So now I have paid all the money she wants, vacated the property and returned the keys (2 weeks ago now).

    I have asked when she will be returning my deposit.

    She is saying she will not return it until the theoretical end of my tenancy. Am I entitled to my deposit back now, seeing as there are no outstanding charges?
    Originally posted by peace_lily
    again your position is one of legality v reality and since it appears you prefer the easy option and not the legal option you have no choice but to wait

    legally your LL has accepted the keys back and therefore "mutually" agreed to the surrender (termination) of your lodging arrangement. However. she has your money and you can''t get it back unless you sue her, which you won't, so your question is redundant.
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