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Letting agent insisting we change utility companies. Can they?

(19 Posts)
LaaDeDa Tue 29-Sep-09 20:02:34

Got home to find letter from our Letting Agent saying -
'In the interest of utility management hmm we are proposing to transfer all our properties to Southern Electric'

Goes on to joyfully inform us that we will be saving money compared to being on a quarterly account with British Gas for gas and EDF for leccy - i am on neither of these.

Then enclose a form (already partly filled out angry ) to ensure the transfer runs smoothly.

The entire letter is cleverly worded and basically suggests this is not optional.

1) do not see what business my Letting Agent has dictating which utility company i use. They do not own any of these properties and, i as far as i am concerned, their involvement money wise begins and ends with the rent i pay them.

2) massively dislike something being presented to me as 'for my own benefit' and also ordered to do something that the person doing the ordering has no right to enforce.

Am i correct in my assumption that they cannot make me change my utility company or is this something that they can rightfully do? I intend on fighting this but want to know if i will have to give in at some point if they can legally do this!


PrincessToadstool Tue 29-Sep-09 20:03:56

Does your tenancy agreement mention control over utilities?

iheartdusty Tue 29-Sep-09 20:06:23

the only situation in which they could insist would be if it was written into your tenancy agreement that you would use the company they choose.

Otherwise it is none of their business.

LaaDeDa Tue 29-Sep-09 20:08:15

Will have to dig it out (been here 4 years) but do not remember a utility clause! Will check.

feetheart Tue 29-Sep-09 20:19:26

As others have said unless it is in the tenancy agreement (and I can think of no reason why it should be) then it is none of their business AT ALL.
I am a landlord and it is none of my business which utility companies my tenants use though I do give the the Money Saving Expert website when they move in

happyjules Thu 01-Oct-09 15:42:01

As per the others with regard to the tennancy agreemnt, but I also have a strong hunch that they may be receiving incentives from the utility company.

claricebeansmum Thu 01-Oct-09 15:44:50

Anyway, surely is woulddn't be the letting agent insisting but the landlord?

Tell me, is your agent Foxton's? hmm

sequinedsteaknife Thu 01-Oct-09 15:50:46

I agree with happyjules - sounds like they are getting a kickback referal fee from the utility company.

If you have been there 4 years and presumabely always paid your bills why are they suddenly so interested?

My agent recommended a company to me but at least he was upfront that he was a rep for them.

scaryteacher Thu 01-Oct-09 16:39:04

I am a lanlord, and afaik, my letting agent lets the tenants choose which electricity company they wish to use and which oil company as well. The tenants put a water meter in without my consent which I am told they are allowed to do, so I am stuck with it when I move back (grrr), so I suppose they decide what they want for the rest too.

HerHonesty Thu 01-Oct-09 16:43:43

if it doesnt say on the contract they cant make you do it.

DuelingFanjo Thu 01-Oct-09 16:44:06

if you do find out that you have to do it because it's in the tenancy agreement I think you should rip up the form they have sent you and do it online through uswitch

That way you will be theone to benefit from any cashback offer they might be getting.

That is unless you are not named on the account?

1dilemma Thu 01-Oct-09 21:04:37

You need to check this

I'm not even sure they can do this if it's in the tenancy agreement (clauses have to be reasonable) maybe shelter/CAB can help?

feetheart Thu 01-Oct-09 22:15:16

scaryteacher - not sure when things changed but apparantly the water companies now have to put in a meter once the occupancy changes, whether tenants or owners.
Found this out when tenants moved into friend's house that I now manage, she is STILL p*ssed off that when she comes back she will have a meter.

sequinedsteaknife Thu 01-Oct-09 22:29:26

Interesting about the water meters - I am a new tenant though the house isn't a new let (iyswim) and there is nothing in the water company bumf about changing to a meter.

DuelingFanjo Thu 01-Oct-09 23:04:51

would LOVE a watermeter. Been waiting 2 years for them to get back to me. I suspect they know it will be cheaper for me to have one!

goldenpeach Sun 04-Oct-09 18:22:25

Well we had same letter, eh, eh. But had already changed to SE ourselves as we had good experience in our own (previous) house.

So it was good news as we had already done it! They must be targetting lots of agents and giving commissions.

rebl Sun 04-Oct-09 19:51:36

I've just been researching the water meter thing and it depends on the water company as to whether they are making it compulsory to change to a meter when the owner / tennant changes.

scaryteacher Sun 04-Oct-09 23:19:15

My tenants chose the meter, as there are only two of them. It will be way more expensive for us when we are back to have a meter rather than being rated......I know this because we have a water meter in Belgium and I have just worked out what we will be paying on the SWW tariff when we're back.

I can see it will be showering every second day and not flushing the loo.

ampere Wed 14-Oct-09 19:09:23

I think you have to tell your landlord which company you're now with but I don't think they can force you to accept the one they name.

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