Student house, just had first bill since july, asking for £847!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
4 replies 985 views
Mr_JoeMr_Joe Forumite
11 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
Background: moved into this 3 bedroom house in Leeds in july. It is a standard terrace house that has been split into 2 residences, ours being the ground and basement floors, then 3 girls live above us separately in the other residence. In july i registered gas and electric fine, but when i went to sign up with yorkshire water for this address, they could only find the house number on their system "3", as oppossed to our actual house number "3B" (upstairs is 3A).

Anyway yorkshire water seemed helpfull enough, they said that the homeowner made the mistake of not splitting the water off to the seperate residences, like he'd done with the other utilities, so at present we would get charge for the whole residence, which isn't fair, so they passed my details onto investigations.

Investigations called me, they basicly said that my account would be put "on hold", and the homeowner would have 3 months to install meters or would be taken to court etc. Great i thought. I knew we'd have to pay something eventually, but i'd receieved no correspondance since then.

One of the girls upstairs said she'd recently recieved a a letter "with all our names on it for water" saying we all owe £60. I said we're not handing over anything until i see what letter she has, as it could be from the landlord for all we know, i dont want to get double billed, plus i expected if they got a letter, then we would too.

Anyway today i've received a letter from yorkshire water for the first time. It is addressed to my name but only to "3" not to "3B" like i'm sure i will have registered when i called in july, but who knows i've never recieved anything from them before to check.

it says "bill for services until 31/03/2010" which is wrong for a start as we'll be moving out of this place June 30th/2009. the break down is as follows:

Water Standing Charge £35.80
Water Supply £195.65 (Rateable value 182) (rate in p 107.5)
Surface drainage £39.78
Sewerage Standing Charge £1.68
Sewerage £223.31 (rateable value 182) (rate in p 122.7)
Add balance of 2008/2009 £350.84

£598.95 payment by april 1st (not gonna happen!)
£248.11 by october 1st (ditto!)

I know we'll have to pay something but this is not right. The "balance of 2008/2009 concerns me too. When i asked a previous tennant how much they paid for water, she said "we never paid water" or something like that, so we're probably getting charged for them (and they left this place in a state when we moved in so no thanks!).

I'm just confused about water bills, when the year starts, how it is all worked out, and how people on low incomes can be expected to pay massive lumps? I know i should ring up but i thought people here could advise me first as i dont know what things "should" be. I'll try and find out what the letter the girls upstairs got says.

Any thoughts here?


  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    Water bills are payable in advance from April 1 each year.

    Unless you pay by Direct Debit, you normally pay 50% on April 1 and the remaining 50% on Oct 1.

    Your property(it would appear the whole house) has a reasonable Rateable Value(RV) of £182 and the annual charge is made up of 5 elements:

    water standing charge

    sewerage standing charge(are you sure about £1.68???)

    Water supply per £1RV

    Sewerage per £1 RV

    Surface water drainage(if you don't have a soakaway)

    If the conversion of the house to flats is 'official' then you should have council tax bills for each property; and each flat should have had a water meter fitted.

    If the conversion was not official - then you are all really lodgers.

    Either way it is your landlord/letting agent's problem to sort out.
  • Mr_JoeMr_Joe Forumite
    11 Posts
    well we got a council tax exemption certificate through the door recently that was only addressed to "3" not individual flats.

    How can the april til april thing work for students who so commonly rent houses july-july, we obviously only want to pay for the time we're here. does the "add balance 2008/2009" sound like the previous years been tacked on too?

    when i first went into the landlord to mention about yorkshire water saying things weren't right, back in july, the guy was like "they'll just end up charging you more now, you should have just all chipped in between houses". erm, sorry for trying to be a good tennant and upon moving in ringing up to set up the bills?

    I need to call yorkshire water and find out why nothings changed in terms of our circumstances since i spoke to them in july. what sort of things should i ask about?
  • anniecaveanniecave Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    In your tennancy agreement - is water definatly payable by you?
    I lived in several rented places when I was a student and water was always payable by landlord.

    If it is payable by you then I'd go back to Yorkshire Water and tell them that they need to get the bill properly sorted before anyone will be paying anything. And that needs to be split into two properties.

    I'd send in a copy of your tennancy agreement to them, if they are including the full value of previous years bill as well!
    Indecision is the key to flexibility :)
  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    Well it seems pretty obvious that the landlord has not had planning permission to turn the house into 2 separate flats.

    Everyone is liable for the bill a year in advance, with the provision that you can pay it in 2 instalments. Students, like anyone else moving in that year ahead are supposed to pay, and get a rebate when they move.

    It is exactly the same with your Council tax - you pay a year in advance unless you opt to pay by Direct Debit.

    I would not get involved with paying the water company for the bill. Tell the landlord to sort it out and present both flats with an apportioned bill.
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