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Tenant didn't pay gas, default on my name.

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by ADLInvestor, 15th Feb, 2017.

  1. ADLInvestor

    ADLInvestor Well-Known Member

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    Hi All,

    Basically, new build house in SA, finished December 2015. Tenant moved in January 2016. Tenant moved out September 2016. New tenant moved in October 2016, signed up for own gas account.

    Fast forward to Monday this week, application for a car loan nearing completion, but i get a call to say i have a default on my name for Origin Energy dated January 28th this year. Call Origin, find out it's for the property, and between the dates the tenant was in there.

    Unfortunately, for me to proceed with the loan, i had to pay the amount due to clear the default, as i had to pick the car up by Tuesday night (Last night). Default cleared, loan and car picked up, however i'm now obviously about $400 out of pocket.

    The lease they signed and initialed clearly states that "The tenant is responsible for all telephone, gas, electricity and oil consumption/usage if supplied to premises". Obviously the tenant found the gas was working, and never changed it into their name. Tuesday night is the first i had heard of the bill.

    My question is, where do i go from here. Tenant has long moved out, but i still have their names and email address. Do i go to Origin, the Property Manager, or a Lawyer to help get the money back?

    The lease period and usage marry up, and i have the lease agreement and the Origin bill.

    Any help would be great, and sorry for the essay!
     
  2. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    Tenant, Origin, PM & Lawyer in that order, bearing in mind you can waste more than $400 of your own labour chasing small debts like this :(
     
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  3. pinkboy

    pinkboy Well-Known Member

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    Basically it appears you didn't cancel the original agreement with Origin.

    Even though in the agreement that they are to pay those costs, the tenant may not have been even able to sign up as they would not have been able to cancel your agreement. So perhaps they just shrugged their shoulders and gave up.

    I'd say it will be a pretty uphill battle going from here for a measly 400 pesos.

    The real cost will be 5 years of that notation on your credit file. That would be the only thing to motivate you to pursue this! I'd say some legal advice would be the first port of call, because even if the tenant does cough up, that won't be sufficient to clear your name. You will need specific advice and action.

    pinkboy
     
    Sonamic likes this.
  4. D.T.

    D.T. Specialist Property Manager Business Member

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    Civil issue with tenant, preferably without lawyer if possible.

    Isn't PMs responsibility to know if tenants have their utilities connected. Isn't origin's responsibility to know who is residing there.

    Bonus devil's avocado question - why didn't you disconnect it in Dec ?
     
    Sharyn C likes this.
  5. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Was the gas ever in your name?

    If this happened to me, I'd see what I could do to get the money out of the tenant, as long as that process costs nothing. You might as well give it a try.

    But my main concern would be to clear my credit file, and this would be my priority. I've no idea how you go about doing that.
     
  6. D.T.

    D.T. Specialist Property Manager Business Member

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    The people installing the appliances have to provide a certificate to say that they're working. They can't do this without a connection. Its likely they asked the OP to connect it up, or the OP provided authority for the builder to do so.

    Best thing going forth is to clean the credit file. When I had a similar issue (council rates going to wrong address), paying it off and then asking in writing to have it removed did the trick.

    Seeking reimbursement from tenant is a separate question. And probably difficult. You could scare with lawyers, but it'd cost more than the amount.
     
  7. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    So why didn't you get payment overdue reminders?
     
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  8. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Ultimately the onus is on you to disconnect utilities. Tenants stole from you not gas company so pursue them, but also ask gas company to request removal from veda as there were extenuating circumstances beyond a failure to pay
     
  9. Otie

    Otie Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand. If yo never disconnected the gas, the bill would have continued to be sent to the address you had when you connected it. You wouldn't have ever had them going to the IP address, but your mailing address. Im sure Origin would have texted you and mailed out reminders etc.
    If you could prove the mail was going to an incorrect address you could possibly argue the default.
    If you left the gas connected I can't see how you could get the tenant to pay for something they never agreed to (contract with Origin etc, they could say they never agreed to those rates or terms)
    I just don't get it sorry
     
    Joynz likes this.
  10. ADLInvestor

    ADLInvestor Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback everyone. A few points:

    Correct, the builder turned on the gas to install appliances, placed it under my name, however listed the IP address as the address for the bills to go to. Origin told me all they had for me was my name and the IP address. I only found out when the car loan was getting finalised that there was a default and they managed to give me the reference number.

    I ended up paying the amount and Origin manually removed the default through Veda on the Tuesday so i could collect the car.

    I've emailed the PM to see if they have the contact details for the tenant, as they agreed when signing the lease that they would be paying for the gas used at the property. Additionally, when they moved out, the new tenants that moved in got a gas account in their name, which is when the Origin bill ended.

    Lesson learnt i guess.
     
    Perthguy likes this.
  11. neK

    neK Well-Known Member

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    The real question is why are you getting a loan for a car?
     
  12. Sonamic

    Sonamic Well-Known Member

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    Lesson learnt. Just put the paid invoice into the IP paperwork for Tax time. Tenant got free gas on you. Builders will always put bills in the Owners name.

    I had this with a new build on an electricity bill. Property was vacant for several weeks, but those pesky connection fees really add up at $1.50 a day. Obviously disconnected once I had a signed lease. Needed it connected during vacancy for lighting and aircon during Opens.
     
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  13. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I would ask the tenant to reimburse me, just because then I'd know I'd given it a try. You're unlikely to get anything, and they will have probably thrown the bills out, knowing they were on free gas.

    But... you are lucky they moved out when they did and the only cost to you is $400. It could have been worse if they'd stayed longer. As @Sonamic says, it goes to the accountant so it is not totally lost. You've paid it and it goes to the accountant at tax time as another bill you have paid.

    The thing I'm interested in is how cheap the gas was for eight months. Bargain really.
     
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  14. hash_investor

    hash_investor Well-Known Member

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    Strange. How did Origin even knew your name. You never signed up for gas with them did you? You need to dispute with Origin that it was never your account.
     
  15. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    Post above says the builder registered on behalf of the owner.

    The Y-man
     
  16. ADLInvestor

    ADLInvestor Well-Known Member

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    Car loan is for a business vehicle, but i have no idea why you're that interested.

    Happy to have this thread closed off, i'll just bear the $400 and wait until tax, seeing it's a 'small' amount and claimable.
     
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  17. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Your putting of "small" this way looks like you don't think it is small.

    $400 is $400 and I'd hate to pay it too.

    But, it is small compared to the money you might spend trying to have it reimbursed, especially if you have to spend more money chasing something you will likely never get back.
     
  18. hash_investor

    hash_investor Well-Known Member

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    There you go. You should have disconnected the utilities when tenants moved in.
     
  19. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    damn that sux,
    another poor tenant wins, and rich landlord loses
     
  20. HUGH72

    HUGH72 Well-Known Member

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    Has it ever been any different?
     
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