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home shift opened an account with Thames water without my knowledge or consent

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home shift opened an account with Thames water without my knowledge or consent

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
7 replies 4.8K views
grendel666grendel666 Forumite
2 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
My partner and I moved into a rental property, on 10th June. After we moved in we both started to receive emails from Homeshift. Which we ignored as we use MSE as our first port of Call when looking for new utilities contracts.

On the 17 June my partner received a letter from Thames Water. The letter was informing her that a new account had been sent up in her name.

As neither of us had set up this account we contacted Thames Water and were told that our the original account had been closed on the 6th of June, Presumably by our Landlord, Thames water could not confirm or deny due to the new GPR rules.

On the 12th of June HOMESHIFT sent an email to Thames Water instructing them to set up an account in partners name, commencing from the 10 June.

Was this Legal?
Is it Legal for HOMESHIFT to be able to set up an account with Thames Water, WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE OR OUR CONSENT WHICH SHE WOULD BE FINANCIALLY LIABLE FOR?

In this brave new world of GDPR are practices like this allowed?

If I wanted to bring this to the attention of an Ombudsman which ones should I contact?

Thanks for the help in advance

GRENDEL

Replies

  • edited 18 June 2019 at 7:45PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 18 June 2019 at 7:45PM
    One or both of you is going to be financially liable for the bills anyway, as with water you've no choice as to supplier. It's not cost you anything other than that which would already be due as tenants anyway.
    So whether through homeshift or direct to the supplier you'd still have had to pay Thames Water from the start of your tenancy.
    Has the landlord got an account with them where he lets them know when the the tenancy has changed? If so, expect a similar council tax letter in due course.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • elsien


    we have no qualms about paying the water bills! What we do object too is that HOMESHIFT who we have had no contact with, and therefore have not been given authority to act on our behalf, have set up an account in our name.

    Would you find this acceptable?
  • edited 18 June 2019 at 8:17PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 18 June 2019 at 8:17PM
    It depends where they've had the information from.
    If your landlord or letting agent has signed up as a business to something like this:

    https://rent4sure.co.uk/article/rent4sure-launches-new-notification-service-in-partnership-with-homeshift

    I'm wondering if there's something in your agreement about it.
    Do you recall anyone saying anything about letting providers know about a change of tenant? I'm thinking your landlord may need to be your first port of call to ascertain where they've had your details from.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • edited 18 June 2019 at 11:31PM
    CardewCardew Forumite
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    edited 18 June 2019 at 11:31PM
    As a tenant your wife is responsible for the water charges. Thames Water have a monopoly for your area thus MSE have no involvement in water charges. It is quite normal for the Landlord or Letting Agent to inform the company there is a new tenant from xx date.


    The same applies for gas/electricity accounts. As new tenants you are on a legally binding 'deemed' contract with the existing gas/electricity supplier as soon as you move in to the property. The difference being you can immediately instigate switching to a new gas/electricity company - through MSE if you wish. This switch can take several weeks to take effect and you are liable to pay the existing company(s) for that period.
  • TalldaveTalldave Forumite
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    elsien wrote: »
    It depends where they've had the information from.
    If your landlord or letting agent has signed up as a business to something like this:

    https://rent4sure.co.uk/article/rent4sure-launches-new-notification-service-in-partnership-with-homeshift

    I'm wondering if there's something in your agreement about it.
    Do you recall anyone saying anything about letting providers know about a change of tenant? I'm thinking your landlord may need to be your first port of call to ascertain where they've had your details from.

    In my personal experience rent4sure are utterly incompetent so be very wary of anything they are involved with.
  • edited 2 July 2019 at 9:06AM
    TalldaveTalldave Forumite
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    edited 2 July 2019 at 9:06AM
    Keno18 wrote: »
    Hello,

    Apologies if this was not made clearer to you throughout previous correspondence with Homeshift. I wanted to clear this up for you as I understand that you are concerned about your information.

    Estate agents have a legitimate business interest under GDPR to make sure that any change of tenancy information is supplied to the relevant utility providers of the rented property to ensure that the relevant charges or liabilities are directed to the responsible parties at move in and move out.

    In fulfilling this duty, they use Homeshift to identify and notify the existing utility suppliers that you have moved in or out of a property. Homeshift can also help you at your direction to ensure the orderly continuation of your utilities and related household services.

    The information that we receive allows us to notify the supplier of the responsible parties information ie name, tenancy start date (when the new occupant is the responsible party from) and metering information to close existing accounts so that the new occupant can open an account.

    This is often a contractual obligation between Estate Agent and the landlord and is common practice across the housing industry as it falls under Estate Agents legitimate business interests, if it didn’t happen, Landlords would be responsible for utility bills.

    If you’ve had any issues- we’re very happy to help you resolve this.

    Kind Regards,

    Homeshift
    You make it sound like estate agents are obliged to pass tenant details on to suppliers, but it's simply another thing they like to meddle in.

    Landlords are responsible for bills when properties are empty, tenants are responsible when they become tenants. That's been the case long before Homeshift came into existence.

    All that's happening here is estate agents/rent4sure/Homeshift spotting an opportunity to cream yet more cash off landlords/tenants for doing something that tenants are perfectly capable of doing themselves.

    If a tenant finds their details in the hands of Homeshift without agreeing to that with the estate agent, that's totally unacceptable. No amount of "legitimate business interest " waffle is going to convince the tenant that it's GDPR compliant.
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Keno18 wrote: »
    Hello,

    Apologies if this was not made clearer to you throughout previous correspondence with Homeshift. I wanted to clear this up for you as I understand that you are concerned about your information.

    Estate agents have a legitimate business interest under GDPR to make sure that any change of tenancy information is supplied to the relevant utility providers of the rented property to ensure that the relevant charges or liabilities are directed to the responsible parties at move in and move out.

    In fulfilling this duty, they use Homeshift to identify and notify the existing utility suppliers that you have moved in or out of a property. Homeshift can also help you at your direction to ensure the orderly continuation of your utilities and related household services.

    The information that we receive allows us to notify the supplier of the responsible parties information ie name, tenancy start date (when the new occupant is the responsible party from) and metering information to close existing accounts so that the new occupant can open an account.

    This is often a contractual obligation between Estate Agent and the landlord and is common practice across the housing industry as it falls under Estate Agents legitimate business interests, if it didn’t happen, Landlords would be responsible for utility bills.

    If you’ve had any issues- we’re very happy to help you resolve this.

    Kind Regards,

    Homeshift

    Do you have the forum's permission to post as a company representative?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
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