Moving into a new apartment is all nice and refreshing. It can signify a new beginning and the start of something wonderful but, what happens when there are outstanding bills the agent never mentioned? Outstanding bills from previous occupants can cause a lot of headaches, especially when the bill owed runs into hundreds of thousands. It’s pretty annoying and can lead to you being disconnected. Why should you have to suffer for something you know nothing about?
At this point, your landlord should be your first point of call. You’d have to try getting across to him for a meeting especially if he does not stay in the same compound as you. He/she may assist in handling the situation.
Nobody wants to be in such a situation, therefore, we must do our due diligence before picking a new place to call home. Below are ways to go about creating a change when you rent an apartment with an outstanding bill:
Prevention is better than cure
The most important thing to do before renting an apartment is to take note of outstanding electrical bills. You can get this information by asking questions on the power situation in the neighbourhood, then specifically on the apartment you want to rent. Getting this information before making a financial commitment on the apartment will go a long way in helping make an informed decision.
Have an agreement with your landlord
When renting an apartment, do not be anxious and not to check the rental agreement (landlord-tenant-lawyer agreement). It may contain vital information on old bills and proffer solutions on how to go about it. If the agreement does not contain these details, call the attention of the landlord to it. This aids in creating a quick and new agreement with your landlord.
Organize a meeting with your landlord
If you already moved in before noticing the problem of old bills in the apartment, you’re already in the situation and there’s no need taking preventive measures. You have to face it, especially if the problem is peculiar to just your flat. You can fix a meeting with your landlord on how to resolve the issue and he may proffer possible solutions by giving you the necessary information you need to know about the apartment.
Meet with your service providers
This is the ideal thing to do as most service providers during certain seasons, slash the prices for customers with very high bills. However, this slash cannot be guaranteed. For example, in August 2016, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) offered a discount to those whose bills exceeded ₦50,000 to ease the payment. This can happen but there is no guarantee it will always happen.
In the worst case, you would be asked to pay a percentage
This is the worst that can happen, you can’t and won’t pay all the accrued bill since you didn’t consume it. So, split the bill and pay a certain percentage, it may be as low as 10%. In fact, if you have a meter, and it is functional, you pay only every time you recharge and you may end up paying less than 10%.
Getting a new meter might be the best option, as this will help you get a new line entirely and you would not need to deal with issues like old bills from previous tenants. But, be sure to discuss this option with your landlord and service providers before embarking on it.