Who pays power reconnection fee?

Question from Elise updated on 15th May 2014:

As a landlord do I have to reimburse my tenant for reconnection fee of power? I disconnected it at the end of the month as no one was living there for a few months, this was with a company that the previous tenants were using. The new tenant doesn't want to join that company and is now demanding payment for the reconnection fee. Is this right?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

It is normal for the power supply to a premises to be left connected between tenancies, and therefore if you choose to have the power disconnected your tenants may have the right to expect you to reimburse them for any reconnection fees. The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) does not explicitly cover this situation. However, section 45(2) states that the landlord “shall not interfere with the supply of gas, electricity, water, telephone services, or other services to the premises…” Providing a property that does not have a supply of electricity may be considered a breach of this responsibility. Your tenant could choose to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order reimbursing their costs if they feel you have not met your responsibilities under the Act. To discuss your situation further you can call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday to speak with a member of our tenancy advice team.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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