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Rateable Value - Converted maisonnette

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Rateable Value - Converted maisonnette

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Rooster27Rooster27 Forumite
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Speaking with colleagues about bills, I recently realized that my water bill was really really high.
For background story, I converted two flats into a maisonnette 20 years ago and never questioned the water bill.
Turns out I am paying 3 times more than my neighbours who have the whole house/3 floors!!!
TW explained to me that when the property got converted by me they added the two rateable values. They also explained that if I had converted the 3 flats/3 floors, into one house, they would have added the rateable values, meaning that I would now pay more than 4 times what my neighbours are paying for the same house.
TW offered to install a water meter. It was done in less than a month.
I wish TW had shown so much energy in identifying the rateable values "anomalies". 
Has anybody experienced a similar issue? 

Replies

  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Welcome to the forum.
    Since April 1990 no water company can alter the Rateable Value(RV) of any property. So they had no authority to 'Add' the RVs of the two flats.

    I suspect that there was a separate account for each flat and you are paying both bills. Sometimes happens when a Landlord decides to pay the bills for flats in a block and then charge tenants separately for the water; or includes water in the rent.
    Under the Water Act you should have had a meter installed when you converted the flats as the Act states that 'when any substantial alteration is made to a building, a meter must be fitted'

    To be fair to Thames Water they have no way of knowing what alterations have been made unless you tell them. Also because of the way water companies are financed, it makes no difference to the company how much you pay; essentially they are only authorised by the Regulator to raise £xx million in revenue thus if you pay too much others pay a little less.

    Ironically there have been many cases on MSE where the opposite to your situation has occurred. A large unmetered house is converted to several flats and again the water company are unaware of the conversion. The water company continues to send a single bill to the property and several flats are unbilled - often for many years.




  • Rooster27Rooster27 Forumite
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    Thank you for your reply. There were indeed two separate flats, so two bills. However, I was never informed that I should have had a meter installed by Thames Water when I the two properties got joined, neither by the Council who approved the change and by Thames water itself who added the two bills. 
  • edited 19 January at 10:18AM
    CardewCardew Forumite
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    edited 19 January at 10:18AM
    The problem is that Thames Water were not aware that you were combining two flats into a single property unless they were told.
    The Planning department of the Council were not aware of the water billing arrangements for the two flats - they could each have had a meter. They don't tell you to change the two gas/electricity accounts to a single account, so why would they tell you about water?
    Presumably you now have a single Council Tax?

    The regulations(that none of us read) will have information about getting a water meter hidden somewhere in the small print.
    As I said above, the problem is normally to the water company's financial disadvantage. I know of an old derelict cottage with a tiny Rateable Value pulled down and a huge 7 Bed house built with full planning permission and it retains the low RV for water rates, but Band G for Council Tax.
    There might be some mileage in attempting to claim back some money from Thames for overpaying; they can only go back 6 years.
    Nothing ventured - nothing gained.
     
  • Rooster27Rooster27 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    I have received a letter from the water company confirming that they knew the property had converted into a single dwelling and that an aggregated value was given to the renovated property. How are these new rateable value decided?
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Rooster27 said:
    I have received a letter from the water company confirming that they knew the property had converted into a single dwelling and that an aggregated value was given to the renovated property. How are these new rateable value decided?
    It is not a question of 'How are' but 'How were' Rateable Values(RV) decided. There have been no new Rateable Values awarded since April 1990. The RV prior to that date was assessed by the local council on the rental value the property could command. That RV was the basis of 'local taxes'(referred to as The Rates) In April 1990 local taxes were raised by 'The Poll tax' and later changed to the current Council Tax.
    After April 1990 water meters were mandatory on all new buildings; but the existing RV was retained as the basis for water charges for existing buildings unless the occupants opted for a meter.
    I have never heard of RV values being aggregated and as I stated in my first post:
    'Under the Water Act you should have had a meter installed when you converted the flats as the Act states that 'when any substantial alteration is made to a building, a meter must be fitted'
    I would certainly challenge Thames and question their authority to aggregate RVs under The Water Act(there may be some obscure exemption, but I doubt it) The whole point of the Act was to get properties metered, and they had the perfect opportunity to force the fitting of a meter when you made 'substantial alterations'

    If you don't get a satisfactory response contact The Consumer Council for Water.



  • Rooster27Rooster27 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    Thank you! I am now contacting the CCW as TW do not find any issue with the way they have treated my bill.
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