Never recieved a water bill

Hi

I am posting this as I have been living in a house for 2 years and not received a bill for water. Initially I thought "I'll get one soon", then I thought "It will come in the new tax year", then "maybe they bill retrospectively, it'll come in October/November "(1 year after moving in), I've now come to the conclusion that there is no water bill coming.

When I first moved in there was some faff as the utilities had been recently reconnected (new gas & electric meters about 1 year before I moved in) and the council despite sending the council tax bills to "the occupier" not having the house registered in all its departments...

My worry now is that at some point the water company is going to check their records and figure they haven't been billing me, and send a ridiculous bill for however many years they haven't been billing this property.

Does anybody know where I stand legally having never received a bill and if I legally need to inform the company or I can just wait for them to figure it out? While I'm technically not paying for the water currently I didn't hook it up illegally or anything like that so as far as I'm aware I'm not breaking the law, just trying to avoid a huge bill in a few years time when they catch up with me...
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  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    It's your job to register with all the utility suppliers when you move in-they are not psychic. Same applies to council tax.
    As long as you can prove your date of occupation, the bill will be backdated to the start of your occupation-not to the last date they billed the property.
    You are not legally obliged to inform the water co. of anything, nor chase for a bill, but your failure to do so does not mean that they cannot back bill you.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Jonny88 wrote: »
    Hi

    I am posting this as I have been living in a house for 2 years and not received a bill for water. Initially I thought "I'll get one soon", then I thought "It will come in the new tax year", then "maybe they bill retrospectively, it'll come in October/November "(1 year after moving in), I've now come to the conclusion that there is no water bill coming.

    When I first moved in there was some faff as the utilities had been recently reconnected (new gas & electric meters about 1 year before I moved in) and the council despite sending the council tax bills to "the occupier" not having the house registered in all its departments...

    My worry now is that at some point the water company is going to check their records and figure they haven't been billing me, and send a ridiculous bill for however many years they haven't been billing this property.

    Does anybody know where I stand legally having never received a bill and if I legally need to inform the company or I can just wait for them to figure it out? While I'm technically not paying for the water currently I didn't hook it up illegally or anything like that so as far as I'm aware I'm not breaking the law, just trying to avoid a huge bill in a few years time when they catch up with me...


    I get the impression from your post you think that there is a similar back-billing provision for water bills as gas/electricity bills* (i.e. under certain conditions you can only be back-billed for 12 months) there isn't such a provision for water bills.


    The reason you haven't received a water bill is totally your fault and you will be required to pay in full when 'they catch up with you'.


    You use the quaint phrase 'I'm technically not paying for the water' a better way of phrasing it would be to say 'I am technically guilty of theft' i.e. knowingly receiving goods and services and wilfully avoiding payment.


    * Even for gas and electricity in your situation(i.e. not contacting the supplier) the back-billing provision would not apply.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    'I'm not technically paying for the water':

    I think you meant to say 'I'm not paying for the water'?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Jonny88
    Jonny88 Posts: 26 Forumite
    Well thanks for the advice, nice to have accusations of theft thrown around when you ask for advice on a consumer forum.

    I'm not willfully avoiding payment if I haven't been sent a bill. If I got a bill I'd pay it, simple as. As it stands I haven't had and its no more my fault than it is theirs. The other utilities and the council managed to bill the occupier and everywhere I lived previously the water company sent me an occupier bill the first time around...

    The question was about back billing yes, if it was limited to 12 months then lucky me, turns out it isn't, with some sources suggesting it would be 6 years with most companies reducing this after you contact them. My concern was simply "can I be asked to pay for time I didn't live here, if they keep not billing me do I remain liable to pay for what I have used".

    I imagine that when you go to tesco you check the receipt and let the checkout assistant know if anything rings through too cheaply or fails to scan, you know, in case you go back next week and they recognise you as the person who willfully stole the lemon squash.
  • Jonny88
    Jonny88 Posts: 26 Forumite
    macman wrote: »
    'I'm not technically paying for the water':

    I think you meant to say 'I'm not paying for the water'?
    No, I meant what I said, I'm not indefinitely not paying I just haven't been billed yet so haven't sent payment hence technically not paying although I intend to - which is why I posted on the forum, to check my rights and liability. Apparently it would be limited to 6 years, but I don't fancy a 6 year bill in the future!
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    You have paid nothing for two years (because you don't seem to understand that it's solely your job to register for the utilities). 'Intending' to pay doesn't mean you have paid, technically or otherwise.
    If you register now you can probably negotiate an extended repayment period for the 2 years due. You can't be asked to pay for any period prior to your occupation, as long as you can prove your entry date.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Robin9
    Robin9 Posts: 11,967
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    Jonny88 - simply write to your water authority and give them the date you moved in and ask for a bill
    Never pay on an estimated bill
  • Jonny88
    Jonny88 Posts: 26 Forumite
    macman wrote: »
    because you don't seem to understand that it's solely your job to register for the utilities
    Where does it say this is my responsibility, can't find anything on MSE, Citizens Advice, OFWAT or any of the many online home moving guides about it? Where would a new occupier find details of the water supplier in order to contact them? (I'm assuming its pretty easy to google, ask the neighbours etc, but if its my responsibity as occupier there surely is a proper/legally defined method?)
    Robin9 wrote: »
    Jonny88 - simply write to your water authority and give them the date you moved in and ask for a bill
    Yes I'll call them and see if I can do some installments to save paying it in one huge chunk
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    edited 16 January 2016 at 3:17PM
    Because it's basic common sense? The utility suppliers are not psychic, so they have no idea when people move in or out of a property unless you tell them. If you don't, you get yourself in a situation such as you are now in.
    You can google for your supplier much quicker than you took to trawl through the various sites mentioned. Or post the first part of your postcode and someone will tell you-there are not that many to choose from.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Jonny88 wrote: »
    Where does it say this is my responsibility, can't find anything on MSE, Citizens Advice, OFWAT or any of the many online home moving guides about it? Where would a new occupier find details of the water supplier in order to contact them? (I'm assuming its pretty easy to google, ask the neighbours etc, but if its my responsibity as occupier there surely is a proper/legally defined method?)

    /QUOTE]
    How do your water company know you have moved in?


    This is from my area.


    https://myaccount.stwater.co.uk/wss/unregistered/accountmgmt/chorWelcome.do?newCustomer=true


    This might help with you finding out details of your water company:


    http://ccwater.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/418
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