Landlord and Tenant
We are all familiar with the concept of switching energy suppliers at home, which was made possible by legislation requiring national gas and electricity suppliers to allow regulated third parties to access and use their networks. Private, unlicensed (normally, onward) suppliers, such as landlords in multi-let blocks, are currently exempt from those requirements. However, this is about to change.
Whilst some of the minutiae of the regulations, notably their commencement date, is still being thrashed out, what we do know is that landlords and managing agents ought to be getting themselves prepared. In addition, tenants may want to look at the options available to them to see if it might be to their financial advantage.
Once the regulations are in place, if a tenant gives written notice to the landlord of its desire to allow third parties to access the landlord’s network so as to be able to offer it a separate gas or electricity supply, the landlord must respond within 10 working days, by either:
At all times the landlord must act in such a way as not to unreasonably prevent, restrict, or delay third party access to its network.
If the information is to be provided, then the landlord must do so within 20 working days of the tenant’s request.
It would be prudent for landlords to gather that necessary information sooner rather than later. They should also make an initial assessment as to what third party access is likely to entail: it is expected that in most cases it will mean the installation of a full settlement or secondary meter at the boundary of the property demised to the tenant.
It is worth noting as well that almost all landlords intending to charge for the use of their distribution system must (as it currently stands) seek the prior approval of Ofgem for the methodology they intend to use to calculate those charges.
It may well be wise to factor the cost of dealing with third party access requests into the landlord’s charges. However, any work required to the distribution system in order to facilitate third party access must be carried out at the cost of the tenant that made the request.
Whilst we await a few of the final details, some attention to the impending changes, on both sides of the landlord and tenant fence, should reduce the likelihood of this causing any serious headaches.
If you require any further information about the issues raised in this article please contact James Daglish (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any other member of Goodman Derrick LLP’s Real Estate team on 0207 404 0606.
This guide is for general information and interest only and should be relied upon as providing specific legal advice.
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