Unfortunately, not everybody is a responsible tenant, and in some cases, not all owners are responsible owners. This is why it’s important to get to grips with the layout of your bill, to know exactly what you should be paying and what you should not be paying.
READ YOUR METERS
The first thing you should do when you arrive at your new property and are handed the keys, is to take your own pictures of your Electricity, Gas and Water meter, to ensure that you have a record of the index on the date that you move in.
Each property, unless for any special reason (e.g. no gas service) will have a meter for each utility to measure your consumption. An example of these meters can be found below:
Whenever you are reading a meter, you should ask the owner to show you which ones are yours and if possible. If you would like to check for yourself to know which meter is yours, you can either use one of the connected utilities (e.g. gas, water or electricity) to see which one reflects your testing (e.g. turning on or off the water), or alternatively, if you have a bill available, match the serial number of the meter to the serial noted on the bill.
If you receive a bill which seems a little too high on your first month, chances are, the previous tenant’s bill is overlapping into yours. You’ll be able to know for sure by checking the period which the bill was issued for. This will be displayed as “Perioada de facturare” or “Perioda de consum” on your bill. For example, if you have moved into the property during on March 15th, and the period on the bill states 02.03.18 – 03.05.18, then you should only be paying the usage from 15.03.18 – 03.05.18, as the previous consumption was present before you actually moved in.
Also, if there is an unpaid balance which has been carried over from a previous bill, you will need to ensure that the owner of the property pays off the unpaid balance as soon as possible. Even if you are not responsible for the unpaid balances, it could result in your utilities being shut off.
It’s easy to find unpaid balances on a bill, as it’s often noted as a separate balance from the current bill “factura curenta”. There will be two balances displayed on the bill also, both have the option of being paid, so when paying your bill, ensure that you’re only paying for the amount that you have used, and not the previous tenant’s balance.
If a bill has a very high unpaid balance, it could result in the service or utility being cut off or disconnected. This should be avoided in every circumstance, and the owner of the property should be aware of the situation immediately.
In most cases, previous tenants will have left a deposit or guarantee, which is intended to cover such situations in the event that they vacate the premises before paying their bills. This is not your responsibility and any attempt to make you cover debts that were inherited from the previous tenant should be challenged.