Shared bill dispute with Landlord

Hi, just looking for some opinions/advice on a dispute with my landlord on shared water bills.

I have rented a business unit for 4 years and the water is shared with a unit downstairs. A few weeks back someone moved into the unit which had been empty up to this point. I don't see the actual bill but have trusted the landlord to send over the costs which have been reasonable and I paid them. However on the most recent invoice my bill halved. I queried this and was told I now shared 50% with the new tenant.

I immediately queried why it had not been closer to 50% before as the landlord was responsible for the vacant unit costs in the previous 4 years. They have agreed to refund 50% of the standing charge for that time and we both agree that I would have used the metered water and therefore pay that part.

The other fixed cost, wastewater, they will not pay 50% though. I understand that this is made up of surface water charges and waste. Am I being unreasonable in asking them to pay 50% of this over the last 4 years? They say that I was the only one "producing waste"(!) therefore the charge is mine. If surface water, drainage etc is involved and that it is a fixed (not metered) charge then I think they should be paying 50%.

It is getting to the point were it is going to cause a massive rift and I only want to push for this if it is reasonable. I'm annoyed about effectively being over charged for 4 years and having to catch them out but what are your thoughts?


  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Rampant Recycler
    Firstly you don't say if you are a business or domestic account and which company supplies the premises.

    As different companies have different terminology, we need the definition of 'Waste Water' with your particular company.

    Unless you are on septic tank drainage, the majority of the waste water charges is for sewerage and is based on the amount of metered water you use. Sewerage is water from toilets/sinks etc

    As an example with Severn Trent for domestic properties you pay(from April 2015) 148.39p per cubic metre(m3) for water and 88.08p in sewerage charges for the same amount of cubic metres. i.e. a combined 236.47p for each m3 supplied.

    In addition there is a standing annual charge of £29.52 for water and £13.89 for sewerage.

    If you are not exempt from Surface Water Drainage there is a separate charge of £33/57/81 depending on type of property. SWD is water from gutters etc that enter the sewerage system.

    If you have agreed that you should have paid for all the water it is reasonable that you should pay for all the sewerage.

    I stress that the above is domestic charges for one company but in principle I don't think you have been overcharged for most of the charges levied.
  • spiro
    spiro Posts: 6,403
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    If the other unit has been empty for the entire time then the LL paying half of the standing charge is right. As to water and waste, the waste charge is normally based on the consumption, if this is the case in your case then you should pay 100% of that cost up to the point the new tenant moved in.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

    4 Credit Card and 1 Loan PPI claims settled for £26k, 1 rejected (Opus).
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