EWN reporter Heidi Wardman recently requested to hear from readers who knew of anyone that is “borrowing” electricity by tapping into a neighbour’s supply or installing a “magic” meter.
We were surprised at the number of telephone calls and emails that we received on the matter, although the majority of those concerned did not wish for their reports to be published.
Property Owner and Relationship Director for Barclay’s Bank, Darren Smith, who is based in the UK and rents his Spanish property out, was more than happy to tell his story, with the help of a neighbour, Rita Price*.
His property is situated on Calle Maria San Gil Noain, Urbanization Princessa Maria in Aguas Nuevas, to the north of Torrevieja, where according to his records the tenants have been without electricity, or indeed water for at least 18 months.
However, neighbours will beg to differ with this, as they have informed him that the house is always well-lit during the evenings, whilst the occupants also have numerous electrical appliances operating day and night, such as television, cooking and washing facilities, and Rita reports having seen them working at a laptop computer.
The mystery is of course, how these items are being powered?
Darren confirmed that there is no meter to the outside of the house as this was removed at least 18 months ago, due to “Non-payment of accounts, as the tenants racked up bills exceeding €2,000 before being cut-off, and they have yet to clear the debt so cannot take out another contract for electricity or water until that time.”
Rita said that if the tenants are tapping into her supply or that of her immediate neighbour then it is not apparent, there are no obvious cables leading from the property and she cannot think how the house still has an electricity supply without the meter. However, she did say that she has been forced to lock the outside tap to her own home to prevent the family from “borrowing” her water, as has been the case in the past.
Rita confirmed that she and other concerned neighbours have reported the incidents to the President of the Urbanization, as well as their Administrator, to request that the issue be broached at their
As a matter of interest, Darren revealed that these same tenants have not paid a penny of rental fees for three and a half years and he is already on his second Solicitor in attempts to have them evicted from the property, so from his perspective the “borrowed” electricity is the least of his problems.
The predicament has been amplified as Darren reported that the rental company that initially arranged the rental agreement went out of business in 2009, whilst the client portfolio which they passed on to the replacement company did not contain any records of Darren’s property, or therefore, the rental contract that was originally signed by both parties.
Due to work and other commitments Darren has been unable to visit his property personally since he let it to the family during 2008. “With no rental company managing the property on the owner’s behalf it is very difficult to keep tabs over what the tenants are doing” said Rita, adding that “I am certain that without an electricity meter than the tenants must be obtaining their supply illegally and somebody is probably paying the price for it. I really wish that something could be done to stop them and get them out for good so that Darren can have his house back!”
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