If you don’t have a written tenancy then it makes everything rather unclear but you do still have a tenancy simply by virtue of paying your rent. Your rights and obligations are those set out by law.
Normally the tenancy would state whether or not gas and electricity are included as part of the rent. They usually aren’t which would make them your responsibility to pay if there was a written tenancy. However, (I’m not a lawyer), as far as I know there is no statutory obligation on a tenant to pay for gas and electricity so that responsibility would stay with the landlord.I would contact the debt collectors and make sure they know the debt is the landlord’s – give them his or her personal contact details and address.
In terms of the deposit, if there’s no contract then there’s no right for the landlord to make deductions from your deposit. That money belongs to you and the only way the landlord could make a deduction is if it was authorised by the tenancy agreement. As there’s no agreement, there’s no right to make deductions. If the landlord refuses to return it then you can make a claim against them for the return of the money and you will most likely succeed. The landlord would also have to explain to the court why there isn’t a tenancy agreement – courts don’t like landlords who do this. Perhaps start by sending a letter to the landlord (keeping a copy) setting out that you expect the deposit back in full within seven days or you will start proceedings against them. The Citizens Advice should be able to advise you on how to make a claim.
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