Transferring Utility Services When New Tenants Move In

Double Check

I’m guilty. Guilty of being a tunnel-visioned douche-bag.

There have been times in my landlording career that I have managed to neglect my responsibilities because I was so engrossed on a single task that I forgot about the bigger picture. Being a landlord isn’t just about finding tenants and collecting rent. That’s a common misconception by those with no experience. Unfortunately, the truer picture is a lot more complicated, consequently time-consuming.

In the past, my mind has caved-in and become obsolete during a period, which I feel to be, one of the most stressful points in a landlord’s career- the period which involves Finding Tenants while a property is vacant. That can be one hell of an expensive journey. I’ve been there. It sucks big time.

I’ve been so engrossed with trying to find tenants (especially when I have a vacant property), that when I actually hit gold, I just want to rush the tenants in, and then kick back with a Cuban cigar while sighing with relief. However, moving tenants in is only phase one. Making sure everything is running smoothly once a tenant has moved into their new home is an entirely different ball-game. Teething problems are common, and they should be seen to immediately.

I actually want to focus on one specific aspect out of a long list of responsibilities that a landlord should address when a new tenant moves in. It’s a specific which I’ve definitely neglected before (due to the reason mentioned above), and I’m sure others have also fallen victim. It’s a really simple step; something a lot of landlords probably don’t think twice about, but failing to do it properly can be costly. I’m living proof of that.

Updating Utility Bill details

Well, yesterday I had new tenants move into a property; the previous tenants handed their keys in the day before. As soon as the new tenants moved in, I was on the phone, contacting various utility services, updating the records with my newest tenant’s details.

Ultimately, it should be the tenants responsibility, but I wouldn’t count on that (based on past experience). So, this is just a quick reminder for all you landlords to remember to switch the necessary accounts over as soon as your new tenants move in, or even a few days before, otherwise you could find yourself with some unexpected bills.

The Utilities
  • Water- you may need appropriate meter readings
  • Gas & electricity- you’ll need appropriate meter readings
  • Council Tax
  • Phoneline
  • Cable / TV / Digital

Your first step should be to make sure your previous tenants have canceled/transferred all their extra luxuries like telephone lines and Digital TV. That’s probably worth doing before the tenants’ move out.

The second step should be to MAKE SURE your new tenants have registered their new details to all the appropriate services (as listed above).

Thirdly, I would recommend checking that your tenants gave (if they did at all) the correct meter readings to the services that run on meters. There maybe nothing malicious involved; but there may have been an innocent mix-up.

Don’t rely on tenants

Seriously, don’t rely on tenants to handle any of the transfers. I’ve trusted a previous tenant to do it all before. The shit for brains lied to me about having transferred everything over, and I ended up going through a lot of unnecessary hassle. I ended up with a council tax bill and a £150 gas and electricity bill.

Even if my new tenants say, “yeah, I’ve transferred everything over to my name”- I don’t believe them. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business! I call up all the providers and double check that everything is done properly.

I advise all landlords to do the same. Don’t be a fool, don’t trust your tenants :)

14 Comments- join the conversation...

Guest Avatar
shrona mc aulay 21st January, 2009 @ 19:43

Having a landlord with such a shit attitude like yours is probably the reason you get dodgy tenents. Tenents are doing you a service just as much as you are doing them a service. I treat ma tenents with the resoect they deserve and have never had any problems!

1
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st January, 2009 @ 23:21

I'm a good landlord.

You sound extremely naive. I've had good and bad tenants. There are some people out there that will walk all over you, regardless of how nice you treat them.

Kind regards

2
Guest Avatar
Dr Nogood 27th November, 2009 @ 00:36

Agreed Shroma.

If I had someone treating me like a child, wiping my arse and contacting the council and utility companies I would want to flay them. I now have a very honed "shitlandlordometer" and I am afraid The Landlord that this article has increased your score some.

It is naive to suggest that Shrona is naive...she is just a human with some dignity. My naivity may show through here...if the tenant has signed an agreement with you...why the hell were you liable for anything while they legally occupied your gaff? I am genuinely interested in that. Why didn't you take the fuckers to court...or tell the council and utility companies to go and fuck themselves since you surely cannot be liable for these costs.

3
Guest Avatar
Estate agent 18th April, 2010 @ 09:52

I agree fully, dont listen to these other people.
tenants will screw you over if given the chance.

4
Guest Avatar
virtualfi 27th July, 2010 @ 17:55

Tenants don't do anything unless you remind them. I know I have had 15 years of handholding them. They are just spoiled and useless. Its the age - they are usually in their twenties or thirties and can't buy yet, they have just left uni or home and they are not yet fully grown up yet. I as a landlord have to be their new mommy and I did not have an attitude when I started this, I trusted everyone to be a grown up but I have learned different. Landlord I agree with everything you say - don't trust them to do anything, or you will be the one left with bills, mess, their old crap they leave behind and their constant moaning. Any advice on phones - my tenants have left and can't find one old bill so do not know who they are with, it was BT when they moved in 5 years ago. Any way of checking?

5
Guest Avatar
Dr Nogood 28th July, 2010 @ 22:22

What a nob end Virtualfi is. You SOUND like someone who has been living off your tenants, sorry, 'dealing' with tenants and handholding them for 15 years. Your attitude sums up the type of tenants you will attract (fuck wits). I had some dumb bastard tell me he had been a landlord for 10 years and doesn't provide white goods because 'tenants break them'. I put the phone down on that cunt and got myself a real landlord. Guess how many white goods I have broken in nine years! That's right! Fewer than you I am guessing!

I have been a tenant for 9 years and guess what! I don't want CCJ's against my name or a shit credit rating. And that means sorting out ALL utilities, telephone, internet and any other service provider out there. If my landlord tried to interfere I would shove a rocket up his or her arse (except my current one who is lovely).

As for leaving stuff in the place, that's what deposits and dustbins are for (I am sure you have charged through the nose for cleaning up crumbs from a kitchen surface, so I guess you can just bin all of their stuff and charge them a £100 fee for the 10 hours it took one of your hairy mates).

6
Guest Avatar
virtualfi 29th July, 2010 @ 17:49

Dr nogood, For your information I don't charge for that. I am entitled to put my side to the picture as I have had plenty of grief from spoilt strangers who treat me like their concierge. In fact that's a good idea I will start charging them. And my last tenannts broke the taps, the washing machine door, the window frame, and they are not the acception they are the norm. You must be some kind of saint sent from heaven. I am putting a clause in the next agreement that they can't change the utilities because they have and now its more unpaid work for me while they go on to crap on someone else! I hope I get asked for a reference - that will be good.

7
Guest Avatar
Dr Nogood 31st July, 2010 @ 01:26

Unpaid work? What planet do you live on? Rent is payment for the house AND for your maintenance services. Have a read up on the landlord's responsibilities? Tenants aren't there to pay your mortgage...they are your customers. Also clauses like the one you mentioned are in no way defensible in a court. The judge will just laugh at you and then fine you for wasting his time. Just because something is in the contract doesn't make it enforceable.

How do you know they aren't the exception? How do you know they are the norm? What possible evidence do you have to back up your claim? It is this kind of baseless slur that makes people hate your ilk: landlords/ladies with an entitlement complex who think tenants exist to pay rent and shut up. Nobody forced you to rent out a property.

And no. I am not a saint. I just have respect for my landlord's property and they have respect for me as a tenant. Try it. It works wonders.

8
Guest Avatar
virtualfi 17th August, 2010 @ 22:08

Landlords responsibilities are clear. They are clearly in the STA.
None of the things I mentioned ARE landlord responsibilities are they?? You are very rude. I have every right to state my problem with my tenants here without your rudeness it is quite uncalled for.

9
Guest Avatar
Twattybollocks 18th August, 2010 @ 12:01

So that told you Dr Nogood!!

TB

10
Guest Avatar
Anonymous 28th June, 2011 @ 18:25

Dr. Nogood is an espouser of vandalism since he believes that broken windows and appliances should always be fixed by the landlord regardless of who did the damage. Since he doesn't give a damn about other's property, he shouldn't expect the same for his own.

Also, rent is income, which can be used to pay off debts like mortgages, which pays off the house. DUH.

11
Guest Avatar
Kitty 29th January, 2013 @ 16:03

So I was due to move in to a new property, no money or keys were exchanged & no tenancy agreement was signed. The move got cancelled due to a flood but I had already changed the electric/gas over to my name from the expected move date.
Now my landlord/letting agents say I'm responsible for paying for these bills? I am not living there, never was & if they carry on being unreasonable I never will be.
Why am I responsible? I have tried to change my details back but it has proved difficult.
I was being a good & organised tennant. Why am I now being penalised?

12
Guest Avatar
newbie landlord 8th April, 2013 @ 12:37

AARGH - if only I'd found your site before. Thought I'd researched brilliantly, even went to a landlords & lettings show, and generally made myself a nuisance with my selected lettings agent.
However, no-one told me that the utility companies can royally muck up and that the tenants will keep quiet that they have NEVER had a bill in a year because they didn't give their details, despite me giving the closing meter readings.
The DPS still have their deposit, so I'm hoping that I will recover the money from that via the dispute procedure, especially as not setting up the accounts and not paying the bill are in breach of the terms of their AST.
You've been bookmarked now and I won't take a single step more without checking in with you!
Thanks for sharing!

13
Guest Avatar
seabass106 26th May, 2014 @ 05:02

I've been renting my property for over 8 years and generally have had decent tenants, I've done everything by the book and always fixed anything needed doing. At the end of the day I've found that tenants don't give a damm about your property especially students. I've just sold up as fed up with all the crap that comes along with it, the latest was the girls in my flat sub letting a room which meant that my property was liable for HMO, the council weren't interested in seeing my lease and threatened me with prosecution and they sided with the tenants. I then had to go through the NTQ process to get them to leave which thankfully went smoothly but low and behold I've got a letter from a debt collection company as there is an unpaid gas bill of £520. Easier to go after the registered landlord than the"off the radar tenant"

14

Please leave a comment...

I'm a nobody

I'm a nobody

Landlord

Landlord

Tenant

Tenant

Letting / Estate Agent

Letting / Estate Agent

Legal

Legal

Buyer

Buyer

Developer

Developer

Enthusiast

Enthusiast


Leave a comment

Want FREE Landlord/Tenant advice from experienced Landlords?

Join our active Landlord community by registering to our Landlord Forum.
Learn, share and resolve your problems!