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Water rates questions

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Gingernut86Gingernut86 Forumite
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I live in a ground floor, one bed flat and am a single person. However the building my flat is in is a converted semi, one flat up, one down. 
I have experienced a few issues with water billing. This is my first attempt at independent living, as I have Autism it has been a challenge for me, but I am getting there one step at a time. 
The issues I have been having is I have had two attempts to get a meter fitted, and both were thwarted by the tenant in the flat upstairs refusing access, as Severn Trent need to gain access to that flat in order to complete a flow test to find out if the supply is split. This tenant has now left the above flat, but continues to maintain the tenancy by paying rent. The person does not pay anything towards water bills, and has amounted a large debt. So far I have not seen any action being taken against this person. 
What this has led to is me being forced to accept 'assessed rate' which has left me paying around £150 every 6 months, or £30 a month! I am a very low water user, and would much benefit from having a meter fitted. I have managed to get Severn Trent to come back out under the condition that someone from the estate agent can guarantee them access to the other property as the tenant is unreliable and currently not living there at all. Unfortunately I have been 'involved' with this person, but I am not anymore. I am not going to bore you with the long story either. All I am doing is trying to exercise my right to make my outgoings more affordable and my life more manageable, I feel these are my rights. I live on disability benefits and cannot afford such a massive outgoing. It is the most expensive bill I pay. I only pay £25 for both gas and electricity, and to me, that reflects both my usage and the type of property I live in. I do not use much water, I have a 2-3 minute shower each day, 2 or less wash loads a week, only wash up when I have enough dirty stuff to do it, so probably around twice each day etc. I try to minimise my water usage as I am aware water is not an infinite resource. 

There is a possibility that due to the layout of the building, they will be unable to fit a meter anyway. 

Some members of my family only pay £11 a month, even those NOT on meters. One is in a terraced house, and some of my friends are in flats and similar properties, and do NOT pay this much. What should the 'assessed rate' or 'ratable value' be on a one bed flat with one person living in it?

What is going on here? Am I being charged the 'ratable value' for an entire house as opposed to a single dwelling within the one house or what?. 

I just want to live a good, honest, clean life. Pay bills that are owed no matter how much I disagree, and challenge it via the correct channels in a legal, sensible manner if I feel very strongly about it, as I do this issue. 

I get a lot of support from my mum, but I am trying to become as independent as I can. Solving these kinds of issues will ensure me a more secure future. It does look as if I will be having to move partly due to this issue, and partly due to the situation with the person above me, but I would like to be able to decide this in a sensible, collected manner rather than in a rush, when it is easy to make mistakes. I am on the council homefinder system waiting to see if I can be offered any considerations due to my Autism, and still keeping my eye out for suitable private rentals as well. 

Any help on this issue would be much appreciated, 

thank you x


Replies

  • edited 8 March at 10:33PM
    Norman_CastleNorman_Castle Forumite
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    edited 8 March at 10:33PM
    I might be reading it wrong but a single person household looks like £97.23 plus £68.21 plus £34.57. About £200 per year.
    For reference I'm in a 1 bed flat, metered with stw, I suspect I’m a relatively low user. I pay about £211 per year.
    Some unmetered properties are very cheap due to their rateable value being very low decades ago. They're not a good benchmark for comparison.


  • Gingernut86Gingernut86 Forumite
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    Thanks, that is still less than what I am paying now. My 6 monthly bills are coming in at £150. This place is pretty old, or the house is anyway. I don't know if the conversion was done pre 1990 though. 
  • Norman_CastleNorman_Castle Forumite
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    Its not letting me edit the above. There may be an extra £50ish for standing charges.

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    A great many semi detached properties converted into 2 flats did not bother to run separate water supplies to each flat. From many posts on MSE the water company were not aware of the conversion of the property and only a single bill was raised. 
  • Gingernut86Gingernut86 Forumite
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    Thanks guys! I have managed to coordinate Severn Trent coming back out later this month, with us not relying on the above tenant to allow access. The agent will be there on the day to let them in. 

    I am starting to wonder this Cardew, because I have spoken to my neighbour today, and he tells me he is not metered and is paying £90 every 6 months, whilst I am paying £150! What gives? Are me and the above tenant, being charged the full ratable 'assessed' value on a two bed semi as opposed to two separate, self contained addresses? 
    I am not expecting to be able to get a meter due to the layout of the building, so I will be looking to move. A water meter will be priority when I move that's for sure! Also the plumbing in my flat is dire, someone painted over ALL the pipes, stop taps, valves etc, all buried under a good few cm of paint. Managed to free the stop valves though thankfully. 

    I am starting to think I am going to question Severn Trent regarding this house layout issue, as I do think both flats are being charged the assessed rate on the whole building, so that is why they are not treating me as a single person! The only difference is I have chosen to pay even though I disagree with the amount, unlike the above tenant, who seems to get away with not paying everything, from utilities to rent, and gets away with it every time!, they're not even living in the flat anymore yet continuing to pay rent, BIZARRE. If that is what is going on, is there ANY way Severn Trent could involve me in the upstairs tenant's debt situation? They owe easily in excess of £1000 by now. 

    Metering doesn't always work out cheaper, for example in a big family with kids or babies, who need a lot of water usage, but for me, on my own, if you don't count the dog lol, I am not happy about paying these extortionate rates as I am extremely careful with water. It makes me pretty angry to know the tenant upstairs has not paid a penny since they moved into that flat three years ago with seemingly NO action being taken, while I am trying to live a good, honest life and do things the right way. 
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Hallo Gingernut 86.
    There is some confusion here. Unless you have applied for a meter, and it is not possible to fit one, you will not be on an 'Assessed Charge' You will be paying water charges based on your Rateable Value(RV). It is not possible for us to work out your charges as it depends on your RV and the area in which you live.(Severn Trent has 10 charging zones)
    With your neighbour paying £90 every 6 months it is almost certain that he is paying the single person Assessed Charge which is around £180pa. So it is pretty certain that a meter cannot be fitted and you should also get the assessed charge.
    See table 6 of the above list of charges for 2020/21


  • edited 9 March at 8:39PM
    Norman_CastleNorman_Castle Forumite
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    edited 9 March at 8:39PM

    I am starting to wonder this Cardew, because I have spoken to my neighbour today, and he tells me he is not metered and is paying £90 every 6 months, whilst I am paying £150! What gives? 

    Metering doesn't always work out cheaper, for example in a big family with kids or babies, who need a lot of water usage,
    I had a meter fitted about 20 years ago because my rateable value water bill was £170 and a friends two bed house RV water bill was £99. RV bills can be far cheaper with no apparent rationale.
    STW do pursue outstanding debts so don't be too miffed about your neighbour not currently paying.
    The neighbouring properties debt is theirs, nothing to do with you.

  • edited 9 March at 9:12PM
    Gingernut86Gingernut86 Forumite
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    edited 9 March at 9:12PM
    I am only on assessed rate because the person in the above flat would not allow Severn Trent in to do a flow test and attempt to fit a meter. That has been resolved now by bypassing them and going via the letting agent. I will let you know if they manage to fit one or not. 
  • Richie-from-the-BoroRichie-from-the-Boro Forumite
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    Bottom line is YOU pay for what YOU use so you should want a meter. You are clearly subsidising your other flat.

    You  pay by cube cube meter for what you use my friend. Find a way of escaping the inequalities of 'Assessed', best of luck.
    Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    I am only on assessed rate because the person in the above flat would not allow Severn Trent in to do a flow test and attempt to fit a meter. That has been resolved now by bypassing them and going via the letting agent. I will let you know if they manage to fit one or not. 

    As you are paying £150 every 6 months, you are NOT on an Assessed Rate; you are paying charges based on your Rateable Value.
    Your neighbour paying £90 every 6 months would appear to be on a single person assessed rate.
    If your neighbour has a debt, it is nothing to do with you, and Severn Trent would be in trouble if they discussed the matter with you.
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