Utility Bills

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On moving into my shared house my house "mate" rang the utility company and put my name, and the name of one other house mate on the bill without either of our permission while failing to give his own name. Obviously his motives behind this concern me.

I am worried that I will become liable for the entire bill as the other named housemate often fails to pay for bills/rent. I am legally liable for the bill even though I have never given my name to the utility company? Also on giving my name my housemate made a spelling error (2 letters wrong in my surname).

What concerns me most is the final bill, I am willing to pay my fair share but am concerned that as the bill will arrive after we have moved out I will become liable for the full amount as the only person the utility company will realisticly be able to contact. I do not have enough money to cover the whole bill so am therfore keen that in this scenario I won't be able to be held liable for the bill, how will the utility company contact us? The landlord only has my parents address not that of my housemates, will the utility company be able to contact the landlord to get my address?

Comments

  • Magentasue
    Magentasue Posts: 4,229 Forumite
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    If you end up owing the utility company money, you will be jointly responsible and they will pursue you, making efforts to trace you if you leave the address. If they can only trace one of you, that will do.

    You know your housemate is unreliable so you need to deal with it now so that the final bill is paid by all of you.
  • retrend
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    Thanks for the reply, I have tried to contact the company (npower) but they won't let me add names to the bill without the other housemates permission which they wont give me. Surely if I didn't give them my name myself I can't be liable? Does the spelling mistake make a difference (If i had given my name I wouldn't have made that mistake would I?). They suggested I get the landlord to send copies of the contractst to them, I am not inclined to do this though because only my details are correct on the contracts so then I would be making it easy for npower to contact me leaving me to be chased for the entire bill. I am unlikely to be in contact with the other people after moving out so will not be able to persue them for money. If i sent the contracts to npower would that leave me liable for just my quarter of the bill (this seems the best solution but im worried that if they can't contact the other people they will just persue me).
  • Magentasue
    Magentasue Posts: 4,229 Forumite
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    You are jointly responsible - if they contact all of you, the total can be divided. If they can only find one of you, that person is responsible for the total. After all, they may have given you money to pay the bill - the utility company won't get involved in your domestic arrangements, they just want the debt paid.

    I don't think an incorrect spelling will stop them pursuing you for the debt. If you think it's going to be a problem, sort it out now, pay the bill up to date and make weekly or monthly payments between you. That way, the outstanding debt will be small.
  • Vestra
    Vestra Posts: 856 Forumite
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    If you send them your tenancy agreement that will show who was liable for the property then they can update the accounts however utility companies will not get into third party disputed and anyone named on the account can be jointly and solely liable for any debt.
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