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mistapoole | 22:38 Mon 05th Feb 2007 | Law
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We are living in a rented student house with a 'pay as you go' gas meter, that offers emergency credit when funds are low. When we top up the gas, a portion of the money is set aside for 'debt', suggesting that the previous tenants exploited the emergency credit facility. After investigating, it appears our meter owes �200. Our landlord says we need to take it up with the gas board. What can we do?


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your metre should be set to a start number when you began your tenancy - you do not have to pay for previous tenants.

ask the gas board for a reading from the date you moved in and ask them to calculate what you owe from that - the remainder should be left if the account for the landlord when you leave.

do not put the account in any of your names either.

he is trying it on.
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We have a reading from when we moved in. The trouble is it doesn't work on the reading, its just about the money you put on the top-up card. Every time we put say �10 on the top-up card, we only get about �3 of gas dues to the debt.
then he is scamming you.

call the gas board and explain, they may be able to advise, and be able to make the debt payable in one go rather than in dribs and drabs, thereby making it up to your landlord.

have you paid a returnable deposit?
You are being ripped off. This happened to me (but not on a top up card), 2 months after taking on a tenancy I received and electricity bill of �900 from the previous tenants. I explained quite nicely to the electricity board on about 14 occasions that this was nothing to do with me. All was fine until I moved out 2 years later when I received a bill for �2,000 (bear in mind I had made regular monthly payments for my usage). It turned out that this was for the "outstanding charges" on the meter that were incurred outside of my term of residence. A very curt phonecall, backed up with the threat of the appropriate authorities reduced my final bill to �2.69 (which actually, thinking about it, I still haven't paid!).
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We paid a deposit on the house of the first month's rent. The rent is due this week and we have all decided to boycott payment until the gas situation is sorted out. Do you think we will get back our portion of the debt we have paid off for the landlord, ie. the contributions our top-ups have made to paying off the outstanding money?

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