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    • maxangus
    • By maxangus 13th Jan 19, 8:48 AM
    • 5Posts
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    maxangus
    Landlord using past gas readings to charge for 'extra gas usage' despite all-inclusive bills
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 19, 8:48 AM
    Landlord using past gas readings to charge for 'extra gas usage' despite all-inclusive bills 13th Jan 19 at 8:48 AM
    Four of us have moved in since September, and according to the landlord's calculations using 6 years of gas reading history, we have exceeded the amount of gas we are 'expected to use'. However the flat is extremely inefficient (has single glazing on all windows as well as some holes in walls). We have not seen any official gas bills, and so there's no proof of the gas readings over 6 years, and he's using a spreadsheet of calculations for expected amount of gas used per calendar month. His defence is that we are being compared with 6 years of history in the same flat.
    We have used the heating quite sensibly in order to live comfortably, but this has apparently in excess of the heating we're allowed. Can he enforce this and should we pay for the excess gas used?
Page 1
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 13th Jan 19, 8:55 AM
    • 13,751 Posts
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    Pixie5740
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 19, 8:55 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 19, 8:55 AM
    Four of us have moved in since September, and according to the landlord's calculations using 6 years of gas reading history, we have exceeded the amount of gas we are 'expected to use'. However the flat is extremely inefficient (has single glazing on all windows as well as some holes in walls). We have not seen any official gas bills, and so there's no proof of the gas readings over 6 years, and he's using a spreadsheet of calculations for expected amount of gas used per calendar month. His defence is that we are being compared with 6 years of history in the same flat.
    We have used the heating quite sensibly in order to live comfortably, but this has apparently in excess of the heating we're allowed. Can he enforce this and should we pay for the excess gas used?
    Originally posted by maxangus
    What does your tenancy agreement say about gas usage?
    • maxangus
    • By maxangus 13th Jan 19, 9:11 AM
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    maxangus
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:11 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:11 AM
    'The use of the property is granted with fair use of water, gas and electricity - which are included in the rent. "Fair use" will be determined, at the landlord's discretion, with reference to previous patterns of consumption or reputable industry websites'

    I also know for a fact last year's tenants also were in excess of gas over winter.
    • Mr.Generous
    • By Mr.Generous 13th Jan 19, 9:15 AM
    • 2,283 Posts
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    Mr.Generous
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:15 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:15 AM
    Why on earth did you agree to that? Tell him no way and look to move out. He sounds like a total idiot. Time he invested in double glazing and showed the actual bills.
    • jimbog
    • By jimbog 13th Jan 19, 9:15 AM
    • 812 Posts
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    jimbog
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:15 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:15 AM
    with reference to previous patterns of consumption '
    Originally posted by maxangus
    Ask for the bills (he has apparently referenced them - he can download historical ones) - making sure they cover the winter period. Make sure he is referring to kWh rather than costs.

    What happens if you 'exceed' the limit? No heating whatsoever?
    Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 13th Jan 19, 9:18 AM
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    Rosemary7391
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:18 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:18 AM
    Do you have meter readings for your usage? Could you do your own comparison to "reputable industry websites" ?
    Slinkies 2018 Challenge - 0/80lb lost
    • maxangus
    • By maxangus 13th Jan 19, 9:21 AM
    • 5 Posts
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    maxangus
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:21 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Jan 19, 9:21 AM
    We have just exceeded the limit and so must pay for the gas upwards of what was expected. (We have used 227ft3 and according to his calculations were only meant to use 134ft3.

    I don't think he has any legal standing unless he produces the required evidence, and even then he still hasn't given us an EPC, so I'm sure we could contest the fact the flat has deteriorated in the last 6 years anyway
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Jan 19, 10:07 AM
    • 21,125 Posts
    • 19,831 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:07 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:07 AM
    'The use of the property is granted with fair use of water, gas and electricity - which are included in the rent. "Fair use" will be determined, at the landlord's discretion, with reference to previous patterns of consumption or reputable industry websites'
    Originally posted by maxangus
    That certainly seems as if you're clearly in breach of the contract you voluntarily agreed to.

    Different people have very different ideas of "comfortable". Some people think that properties need to be heated to t-shirt temperatures, even in the depths of winter, others are happy to wear jumpers. Some people use heating timers, others leave it on 24x7.
    • maxangus
    • By maxangus 13th Jan 19, 10:15 AM
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    maxangus
    • #9
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:15 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Jan 19, 10:15 AM
    I agree we may have used excess gas, however there is the problem of his calculating how much we owe, based on what he believes is expected normal gas use from Sept-Jan. He initially billed us 160 but I picked holes in his calculations getting it down to 130, but he has not provided any official evidence for his calculations (based on 6 years of gas bill history).

    Is it not his obligation to sufficiently prove we are above fair use before we have to pay? Otherwise we are just taking his word for it
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Jan 19, 10:20 AM
    • 21,125 Posts
    • 19,831 Thanks
    AdrianC
    Is it not his obligation to sufficiently prove we are above fair use before we have to pay? Otherwise we are just taking his word for it
    Originally posted by maxangus
    Yep. You agreed to do that, subject to him making "reference to previous patterns". He has made that reference.
    • martindow
    • By martindow 13th Jan 19, 10:51 AM
    • 8,053 Posts
    • 4,658 Thanks
    martindow
    Yep. You agreed to do that, subject to him making "reference to previous patterns". He has made that reference.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    But I don't think it's unreasonable for the OP to ask to be given sight of previous year's bills. It's a very one sided clause otherwise although the OP has signed the contract that includes it.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Jan 19, 10:53 AM
    • 21,125 Posts
    • 19,831 Thanks
    AdrianC
    "Reasonable" is one thing. What the OP already agreed to is another entirely...
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Jan 19, 11:03 AM
    • 10,433 Posts
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    davidmcn
    I presume no advance indication from the landlord of how many units were to be included, even though he clearly had an idea? Not all that unreasonable to say upfront that x units are included and at least you can then budget/adjust your consumption as appropriate.
    • stator
    • By stator 13th Jan 19, 11:12 AM
    • 7,059 Posts
    • 4,844 Thanks
    stator
    At the end of the day you will have to say to him "Sue me". If he takes you to court it will be up to the court to decide if the tenancy clause is enforceable or not.
    Changing the world, one sarcastic comment at a time.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 13th Jan 19, 11:18 AM
    • 13,751 Posts
    • 19,863 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    I wonder why the landlord bothers to include the bills. Why not just charge rent exclusive of bills and let you sort out your own utilities? Perhaps you could suggest that to him and get the tenancy agreement varied to reflect this? Alternatively ask him for his workings and copies of the bills.
    • jimbog
    • By jimbog 13th Jan 19, 12:18 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 1,373 Thanks
    jimbog
    Is the gas meter in the property? Have you taken any meter readings?
    Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Jan 19, 1:11 PM
    • 47,358 Posts
    • 57,794 Thanks
    G_M
    'The use of the property is granted with fair use of water, gas and electricity - which are included in the rent. "Fair use" will be determined, at the landlord's discretion, with reference to previous patterns of consumption or reputable industry websites'

    I also know for a fact last year's tenants also were in excess of gas over winter.
    Originally posted by maxangus
    I'm dubious about whether a court would uphold this rather vaguely worded clause.

    If a court did uphold it, the judge would want to see bills to verify both the tenants' usage and the historic patterns, so perfectly reasonable for the tenant to aslk for those now.

    Lack of an EPC could be referred to Trading Standards - it's a legal requitement.

    Lack of an EPC could also be used as a defense to the LL's claim for gas bills - without the EPC when moving in the tnants could not predict how much gas they might need to use.

    Has the LL complied with his other requirements?


    Since 1/10/15, new tenants must receive the 'Prescribed Information':
    * government leaflet "how to rent"
    * EPC (min E rating)

    * Gas Safety Certificate if there's gas
    * Smoke detectors on each floor
    * CO alarm if there's solid fuel heating.

    * From 1/2/16 landlords must
    check tenants' immigration status.

    * furniture - certified fire-resistant
    * electrics & electrical appliances - safe.

    * Security deposit - registered & 'Prescribed Information' provided within 30 days of receipt. Failure has serious consequences. Never rely 100% on an agent.
    * HMOs - special rules: check local council.


    (assuming Eng/Wales)
    • Taiko
    • By Taiko 13th Jan 19, 2:32 PM
    • 2,548 Posts
    • 2,391 Thanks
    Taiko
    Ask him for his methodology, including uplift for Heating Degree days. That data is available, and will give an indication based on his own data of what should be used taking into account weather variations also.
    • dimbo61
    • By dimbo61 13th Jan 19, 4:17 PM
    • 10,178 Posts
    • 5,507 Thanks
    dimbo61
    Check on the EPC website what the Energy efficiency rating is for the property ?
    You can do this for free.
    Only need the address and post code
    If the property is "F" the landlord can be made to improve the energy efficiency of the property.
    • maxangus
    • By maxangus 13th Jan 19, 5:13 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    maxangus
    The landlord did not supply any of those on start of rent, we received a picture of the Gas Safety Certificate a few months in, a flatmate bought the smoke detector themselves, and still waiting on EPC. The Landlord has taken our EPC off the online register even though it has been done, so for all we know it could be an F. There was no prior expectation of gas usage apart from 'Fair Use' stated. I have got all his data (in the form of meter readings which is inside the flat) but not official, he could have fabricated them
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