Park home owner - energy overcharged now court?

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Ive lived on a residential park home site for 20+ years. My Written Agreement says my site owner supplies LPG and electric and I’ve always received a (very basic) bill monthly and paid on time. We’ve never been charged for this but 2 months ago the site owner starts adding a £20/month ‘meter reading fee’ to my bill. I refused to pay this as it’s unlawful (it amounts to profit, and as a re-seller of energy the site owner cannot profit). I have explained this to the site owner but he’s never replied. 

i have now paid my bill for two months consecutively in full, minus the £20/month ‘meter reading fee’. Today I received a letter from the site owner saying if I did not pay these extra charges within 14 days he would take me to the small claims court.

I was under the impression park homes matters such as this (since it relates to my written agreement), had to go through the First Tier Property Tribunal? Ie: he’d have to take me there first then, if I lost the case, to the small claims court if I refused to pay up. Is this not the case? Can I be taken to the small claims court directly over this matter?

in case it’s relevant my Written Agreement makes no mention of any additional charges payable for utilities beyond my LPG gas and electric usage and standing charge (which is split between all homes) and we’ve never been charged for meters being read or bills sent out for the 20+ years that I’ve lived here. 

Thanks in advance :) 
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Comments

  • dealyboy
    dealyboy Posts: 1,784 Forumite
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    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
  • MattMattMattUK
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    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    It is not harassment, it is either a contractual or a debt issue. 
  • dealyboy
    dealyboy Posts: 1,784 Forumite
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    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    It is not harassment, it is either a contractual or a debt issue. 

    It could be, OP read the page and phone the advice line, also see

    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/advice-guides/find-the-right-information-for-you/?step-option=1583


  • smellymel74
    Options
    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    Thanks dealyboy - I’ll look into that page. Do you know if the site owner can go straight to the small claims court to recover the £20/month meter reading charge that I’m not paying or whether he has to go direct to the first tier tribunal first? This is my main query for now. Thanks
  • smellymel74
    Options
    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    It is not harassment, it is either a contractual or a debt issue. 
    I’m not 100% clear on what you’re saying  MattMattMattUK? I’m not in debt for my energy and never have been. I just haven’t paid 2 months of a new £20 a month charge for reading my meter that I’ve never had to pay for the previous 20+ years and that isn’t in my contract to pay.  Nothing has changed except I’m suddenly being charged for the same guy to read my meter who’s always done it. We’ve never been charged previously because it’s included in the cost of the pitch fees.

    My main query here is which court the site owner goes to - my understanding was that all park home matters relating to the written agreement should be heard at the first tier property tribunal. So I’m confused as to why the site owner is suggesting taking me to the small claims court and whether he can do this without first having gone to the tribunal? 
  • [Deleted User]
    Options
    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    It is not harassment, it is either a contractual or a debt issue. 
    I’m not 100% clear on what you’re saying  MattMattMattUK? I’m not in debt for my energy and never have been. I just haven’t paid 2 months of a new £20 a month charge for reading my meter that I’ve never had to pay for the previous 20+ years and that isn’t in my contract to pay.  Nothing has changed except I’m suddenly being charged for the same guy to read my meter who’s always done it. We’ve never been charged previously because it’s included in the cost of the pitch fees.

    My main query here is which court the site owner goes to - my understanding was that all park home matters relating to the written agreement should be heard at the first tier property tribunal. So I’m confused as to why the site owner is suggesting taking me to the small claims court and whether he can do this without first having gone to the tribunal? 
    Probably because the site owner is seeing it as a debt - i.e. you owe money for something and are refusing to pay - which in their head means small claims court.

    You are seeing it as a contractual dispute about the written agreement - "isn’t in my contract to pay" - which you suggest would be a tribunal issue.

    I don't know enough about the laws in this case to advise, but that's what the dispute seems to be (and what MMMuk probably meant).
  • dealyboy
    dealyboy Posts: 1,784 Forumite
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    ... and the other page / post (relevant information on utility admin charging).

    I understand your question and concern. I am no legal expert but I don't think he is obliged to use the property tribunal rather than a court if he wishes.
  • sammyjammy
    sammyjammy Posts: 7,414 Forumite
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    If he takes you to small claims court now when you "owe" him £40 it will cost him more than that and small claims doesn't assign costs!
    "You've been reading SOS when it's just your clock reading 5:05 "
  • MattMattMattUK
    Options
    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    It is not harassment, it is either a contractual or a debt issue. 
    I’m not 100% clear on what you’re saying  MattMattMattUK? I’m not in debt for my energy and never have been. I just haven’t paid 2 months of a new £20 a month charge for reading my meter that I’ve never had to pay for the previous 20+ years and that isn’t in my contract to pay.  Nothing has changed except I’m suddenly being charged for the same guy to read my meter who’s always done it. We’ve never been charged previously because it’s included in the cost of the pitch fees.
    If there is an unpaid debt then that is potentially a debt issue, the main question is, is the debt valid. The grounds for them taking you to court will be an unpaid debt, the court can then decide whether the debt is valid or not. 
    My main query here is which court the site owner goes to - my understanding was that all park home matters relating to the written agreement should be heard at the first tier property tribunal. So I’m confused as to why the site owner is suggesting taking me to the small claims court and whether he can do this without first having gone to the tribunal? 
    My understanding is you can take them to a tribunal to dispute the energy charges, they can take you to court for unpaid debts. Though I am happy to be corrected if anyone knows differently. 
  • smellymel74
    Options
    That makes sense now thanks :) Deleted_User said:
    dealyboy said:
    Outrageous.
    https://parkhomes.lease-advice.org/article/dealing-with-harassment-on-residential-park-home-sites/
    0808 196 2212 from 09:00 Monday.
    ... they are very helpful.
    It is not harassment, it is either a contractual or a debt issue. 
    I’m not 100% clear on what you’re saying  MattMattMattUK? I’m not in debt for my energy and never have been. I just haven’t paid 2 months of a new £20 a month charge for reading my meter that I’ve never had to pay for the previous 20+ years and that isn’t in my contract to pay.  Nothing has changed except I’m suddenly being charged for the same guy to read my meter who’s always done it. We’ve never been charged previously because it’s included in the cost of the pitch fees.

    My main query here is which court the site owner goes to - my understanding was that all park home matters relating to the written agreement should be heard at the first tier property tribunal. So I’m confused as to why the site owner is suggesting taking me to the small claims court and whether he can do this without first having gone to the tribunal? 
    Probably because the site owner is seeing it as a debt - i.e. you owe money for something and are refusing to pay - which in their head means small claims court.

    You are seeing it as a contractual dispute about the written agreement - "isn’t in my contract to pay" - which you suggest would be a tribunal issue.

    I don't know enough about the laws in this case to advise, but that's what the dispute seems to be (and what MMMuk probably meant).
    That makes sense now thanks :) still not sure about my question but hopefully someone will be able to help 
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