Excess Water charges - Landlord or Tenant – Who takes the Bill?

Overview of scenario:

Dec 2018 - We received a letter from Water Provider outlining that our water usage was unusually high. Please check for leaks. Starting Debt is around £130 on the account.
We checked for leaks straight away and could only find a small leak in the bathroom toilet. Unnoticeable to the naked eye. We notified our landlord and Water Provider straight away and both thought that the amount of water recorded and subsequent bill volume is too high for such a small leak.

Jan 2019 - Water Provider then arranged to carry out an investigation on the meter.

Mar 2019 - The meter was checked and no faults found. I updated the Landlord / agency of findings. Landlord / Agency asked for Water Provider to do more checks as they didn’t want to pay for someone to come out and investigate the issue if in fact it was outside the flat and therefore Water Providers fault. Still believing that the small bathroom leak we spotted couldn’t be the culprit.

Mar – May 2019 - Water Provider drag their heels for months, and still not had anything concrete from them. (Had two letters apologising for delays) Say they are going to get a metre reading shortly. I don’t see what this will achieve. Other than add more to the outstanding balance.
Kept landlord/agency in the loop on all Water updates.

May 2019 – I call to check up on Water Providers progress. They apologised again and say someone will look at it soon. I get the impression they are dragging their heels on purpose for the bill to go up now they have done checks to the outside meter and believe it is correct.
I advise my landlord/agency of my suspicions and only now have they accepted to get someone to look at the property to see if a fix can be done. (As other works are being done in the same building, so presumably cost would be less)
Current Debt is now £260, but could be higher as meter reading will be taken again.

Dilemma:
If the fault is Water Providers and the leak is external, I assume they would have written off the debt. As they feel they have proved this is not the case, they will take the stance that the bill and debt stands. They have agree to keep my direct debt the same until resolved.

Surely the landlord has a duty of care to fix issues they are aware of, and if they don’t, they should pay the outstanding bill that has arisen because of this?

I notified the landlord/agency over 5 months ago of the first instance of a possible leak and subsequent water bill debt. No action has been taken in this time and I am now left with an extra £260 + water bill on my hands.

I think I should note that I have been paying a standard direct debit rate during this time and 1 year (whole of 2018) beforehand, so constant payments are being made to the water company as well as this rising debt.


What rights do I have as a tenant to get this bill paid for by my landlord?

Comments

  • Pagett
    Pagett Posts: 87 Forumite
    hello_me wrote: »
    Overview of scenario:

    Dec 2018 - We received a letter from Water Provider outlining that our water usage was unusually high. Please check for leaks. Starting Debt is around £130 on the account.
    We checked for leaks straight away and could only find a small leak in the bathroom toilet. Unnoticeable to the naked eye. We notified our landlord and Water Provider straight away and both thought that the amount of water recorded and subsequent bill volume is too high for such a small leak.

    Jan 2019 - Water Provider then arranged to carry out an investigation on the meter.

    Mar 2019 - The meter was checked and no faults found. I updated the Landlord / agency of findings. Landlord / Agency asked for Water Provider to do more checks as they didn’t want to pay for someone to come out and investigate the issue if in fact it was outside the flat and therefore Water Providers fault. Still believing that the small bathroom leak we spotted couldn’t be the culprit.

    Mar – May 2019 - Water Provider drag their heels for months, and still not had anything concrete from them. (Had two letters apologising for delays) Say they are going to get a metre reading shortly. I don’t see what this will achieve. Other than add more to the outstanding balance.
    Kept landlord/agency in the loop on all Water updates.

    May 2019 – I call to check up on Water Providers progress. They apologised again and say someone will look at it soon. I get the impression they are dragging their heels on purpose for the bill to go up now they have done checks to the outside meter and believe it is correct.
    I advise my landlord/agency of my suspicions and only now have they accepted to get someone to look at the property to see if a fix can be done. (As other works are being done in the same building, so presumably cost would be less)
    Current Debt is now £260, but could be higher as meter reading will be taken again.

    Dilemma:
    If the fault is Water Providers and the leak is external, I assume they would have written off the debt. As they feel they have proved this is not the case, they will take the stance that the bill and debt stands. They have agree to keep my direct debt the same until resolved.

    Surely the landlord has a duty of care to fix issues they are aware of, and if they don’t, they should pay the outstanding bill that has arisen because of this?

    I notified the landlord/agency over 5 months ago of the first instance of a possible leak and subsequent water bill debt. No action has been taken in this time and I am now left with an extra £260 + water bill on my hands.

    I think I should note that I have been paying a standard direct debit rate during this time and 1 year (whole of 2018) beforehand, so constant payments are being made to the water company as well as this rising debt.


    What rights do I have as a tenant to get this bill paid for by my landlord?

    Usually, where water is supplied via a meter, it is for the tenant to arrange an account with the relevant water supplier, and to pay any bills associated with their time as a tenant.

    Sorry, but you would have no rights to get the bill paid by the landlord. Nor would the water supplier pursue the landlord. If you are the account holder, they will pursue you.

    If the water supplier has been tardy with actioning your requests, then raise a complaint with them - they should recompense you if their failure has left you out of pocket.

    You could request the landlord chip in to assist you if you feel the landlord is in any way to blame, you there are no rights to demand the landlord does in the situation you have explained.
  • giraffe69
    giraffe69 Posts: 3,547
    First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    Have you fixed the small leak?
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