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Question

Utilities (Wales)

If a tenant wants to change utility supplier, should they change it back to my supplier at the end of the contract?

11 Jul 2016 | 1 comment

Hi,

I always notify the utility companies when my student tenants move in and out, to ensure that the opening and final bills are correct and dealt with, with forwarding addresses etc. (A few years ago some tenants didn’t pay a gas bill all year because the previous tenants put it in my name at the address – I was being sent bailiff letters to my rented property! NPower caught up with them afterwards when I found out!)

My question is, if my tenants wish to change supplier, is there any way of writing a clause in the contract to say they have to switch back to a certain supplier (ie. SWALEC) at the end of their tenancy? I find it a nightmare trying to find out each year who has changed and then having to deal with loads of different suppliers with meter readings and forwarding addresses – some companies are better than others at dealing with landlords and they all seem to have their own processes!

I think we’re not allowed to say they can’t switch utilities, but can you put it in the contract that they must switch back to a certain supplier before they leave the property?

Thanks so much!

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    There would probably be no harm in trying to put this in your tenancy if you wish but I doubt it would be regarded as fair and I think it would be unenforceable.

    The main problem is, I can’t see how they would have authority to sign you back up to the previous supplier. Also, what if they signed you up to a two year contract (assuming it was even possible)? They would quote your term as the authority to bind you to it. You could attempt to limit this within the clause but then it may not be possible to get agreement for the terms stipulated in your clause.

    Have a look at our utility guidance for tenants and amend it for your own tenants. As far as I’m aware, the gas number is national so should work for you but the electricity would need changing to your local distribution network (not an individual supplier). We just give that guidance to every new tenant so they can make contact directly and arrange it themselves. If you wish to change supplier whilst empty, you can use the guidance yourself to establish who it’s with. You can only ever be bound for payment at anytime when the property is empty. Once occupied, it’s always the occupiers responsibility. As long as you have meter readings, it’s for tenants to sort themselves and you will be covered. You can of course notify the appropriate supplier if you choose of a new occupier although this isn’t something we personally do in most cases.

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