Mislead about a rateable value rented property?

Hi, I rented a property in August 2020 and I asked the management company about meter readings, suppliers and where the energy and water meters were when I moved in. At no point they informed me that apparently the property has no water meter. Two days ago I received a bill from the water company which is 3 times higher than what I would normally pay as a single occupant. My question is - If the water bill is based on an annual fixed cost, not included in the rent, isn´t the landlords responsibility to inform prospective tenants about this extra charge? I´ve just found out about "rateable value", and also when I asked where the water meter was and what the reading was at the time of moving in, shouldn´t they have provided me with this crucial information? Any help will be appreciated. I am seeing legal advice and I have raised the issue with both, the water company and the management company. Many thanks, Beatriz.

Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    Your complaint appears to be with the management company if you spefically asked for the location of the water meter. Why did you not follow this matter up?
    Re - the landlord; it is not an 'extra charge'.Along with several million other properties Rateable Value based water charges are the normal method of billing.
    If your lease is longer than 6 months you can apply for a water meter to be fitted - it doesn't cost.
    I cannot think what you expect to achieve by getting legal advice.

  • Thank you Cardew.
    I did follow up and the answer was that they didn´t know where the water meter was exactly located. This answer makes no sense coming from a company that have been managing the property for years. How come do they not know that the property has no water meter, and that therefore the water bill is based on a fixed rate? I'd like to know the answer to this specific question.

    When I asked about the latest water meter reading and where the meter was located, had they known, this information would have come to light, and I would have learned about it before I moved in. 

    As someone who didn't know the existence of "rateable value" properties, and having always used a meter to measure water usage, I didn't know to ask "is the flat a rateable value property?"

    The reason I´m seeking legal advice is non other than to find out more about the matter from experts. I hadn´t heard of "rateable value" before in my life, and have been living in the UK for 25 years in rented and owned accommodation. I think that asking questions to expert people is the right way to inform myself about a matter I don´t know anything about. 
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    All properties in England and Wales prior to April 1990 had their water charges based on their Rateable Value(RV). It was only after that date that water meter charging was introduced; but as I said in my earlier post, millions of properties retain RV based charges.

    Unless the issue had been previously raised, there is no reason why a management company would need to know if the property has a meter or not. However if you feel that the management company should have informed you the property had no meter, then you can attempt to claim compensation. I hope you have written correspondence asking about the meter location and their reply.
  • Thank you. I happen to have it in writing. I asked the estate agent and the management company for a list of suppliers, readings and location of the meters. All communication was via email. 
  • freesha
    freesha Posts: 341
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    Just get a meter fitted. Job done.
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