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Came home to changed locks and electricity cut off because of old tenant's debt

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412 views 1 replies latest reply: 06 October 2014
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Tenant

I have lived in my flat a little over 3 weeks.
Yesterday I came home from work to find myself locked out with a letter on my door saying my flat had been accessed and the locks changed.

When I signed my tenancy I was told by my letting agent that as the meters are in a property downstairs from mine, they sort meter readings and update energy providers with the fact there’s a new tenant & I should just wait for a welcome pack in the mail.

Instead I found in the stack of old mail in the hall (3 flats share it) a letter addressed to the old tenant/the occupier and when I opened it it was a declaration of coming to cut off my power.

The key holder was useless and didn’t get back to me after we arranged a time so currently I’m sleeping on someone’s floor! I’ve another appointment with him this morning and once lines open I’ll call edf and go visit my letting agents.

What are my rights in this case? And what should I do of it doesn’t get sorted? As it stands I now can’t cook, heat my house or have hot water (no gas at the property only electricity) is there a legal time frame that they must reconnect me by?

Thanks for any help
Frances

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Administrator

I’m very sorry to hear your tale and must say this sounds like a very dodgy letting agent indeed! Is this right; you were told that the tenants in the downstairs flat are responsible for informing the energy providers when there is a new tenant? This is not standard. I’m not sure what you mean by key holder either? Presumably the people who changed the locks? (Be aware that if it was the letting agent acting on behalf of the landlord, and not the energy providers, then they are breaking the law as this can be considered illegal eviction.)

I hope the issue is sorted by now, and if you are still in the property, do insist on receiving the prescribed information for the tenancy deposit protection scheme the landlord/letting agent has used to protect your deposit. If they refuse to give you the information, or have not protected your deposit, then they are breaking the law.

I should think you were entitled to a week of free rent due to the problems encountered, but do get this in writing if it is agreed to and do not withhold rent, as tempting as this is, as you would be giving grounds for eviction.

How long is your fixed term for? If the matter has not been resolved satisfactorily, then fingers crossed it is only a short one.

For helpful advice on tenancy deposits and how to choose a good letting agent and landlord, see our related articles.

All the best.

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/finding-a-good-landlord/
http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/finding-a-good-letting-agent/
http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/evaluate-a-prospective-letting-agent/
http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/deposit-protection-schemes/

Disclaimer: This information is derived from personal experience and should not be relied upon as a definitive or accurate interpretation of the law.

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