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    • michael8626
    • By michael8626 15th Sep 19, 8:34 PM
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    michael8626
    Shared water supply
    • #1
    • 15th Sep 19, 8:34 PM
    Shared water supply 15th Sep 19 at 8:34 PM
    A friend of mine (aged 69) Ďinheritedí a water supply account when her husband died 8 years ago. The water bills have always been paid since then.

    Upon conducting an energy audit it has come to light the water bill contains a supply address and a billing address that differ. It appears when my friends husband built their house some years ago they looped off an existing supply, when they owned the supply address in question.

    The current occupants of the supply address have lived there for the past 5 years. We have approached the water company regarding the situation, and sub metering going forward, they just say itís a private matter of which we must pay to rectify.

    My friend was never informed of the situation when she became bill payer. As no sub meter is in place, where do we stand with the current owner of the supply address?

    Legally can we ask the supply address owner for a Ďdonationí towards the water bill for the previous 5 years? Do the water company have a case to answer re. Duty of care to its customers? Should we make a complaint or seek legal advice?

    Any thoughts are much appreciated, thanks.
Page 1
    • The Rainmaker
    • By The Rainmaker 15th Sep 19, 8:43 PM
    • 205 Posts
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    The Rainmaker
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 19, 8:43 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 19, 8:43 PM
    I think the best you can hope for is to sort it out going forward. If you start asking for money they make get defensive and tricky to deal with.
    "No Surrender"
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 15th Sep 19, 9:47 PM
    • 13,116 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 19, 9:47 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 19, 9:47 PM
    I doubt your friend can blame anybody other than her husband and/or herself for not creating separate accounts for the two properties when they divided the plot. I presume the other utilities don't have the same problem?
    • michael8626
    • By michael8626 15th Sep 19, 10:28 PM
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    michael8626
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 19, 10:28 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 19, 10:28 PM
    I doubt your friend can blame anybody other than her husband and/or herself for not creating separate accounts for the two properties when they divided the plot. I presume the other utilities don't have the same problem?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Other utilities not affected.

    Certainly the problem was created by her deceased husband. She genuinely had nothing to do with bill payment prior to his death.

    Surely the water company should have informed her of the situation when she became bill payer? I think they should have a duty of care so customers only pay for what they use?
    • da_rule
    • By da_rule 15th Sep 19, 10:31 PM
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    da_rule
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 19, 10:31 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 19, 10:31 PM
    Other utilities not affected.

    Certainly the problem was created by her deceased husband. She genuinely had nothing to do with bill payment prior to his death.

    Surely the water company should have informed her of the situation when she became bill payer? I think they should have a duty of care so customers only pay for what they use?
    Originally posted by michael8626
    How would they know? If it was split after the point of the water meter (if there is one), thereís no reason why they would know that the work had been done or that there wasnít some agreement already in place between the different users.
    • peter_the_piper
    • By peter_the_piper 16th Sep 19, 7:08 AM
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    peter_the_piper
    • #6
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:08 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:08 AM
    I'm surprised the other house have not queried why they are not paying for water, either to the company or yourselves. As above the only real way forward is to discuss with them and sort out either a percentage payment going forward or arrange for a meter to be put in.
    I'd rather be an Optimist and be proved wrong than a Pessimist and be proved right.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 16th Sep 19, 7:19 AM
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    eddddy
    • #7
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:19 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:19 AM
    It appears when my friends husband built their house some years ago they looped off an existing supply, when they owned the supply address in question.
    Originally posted by michael8626
    Did the friend's husband make some kind of agreement with the new owner when they sold the 'supply address'? For example, to pay a portion of the water bill?

    If not, what was the new owner's understanding of the terms of their water supply?

    Maybe speak to the new owner of the supply address, to see what they were told and what they agreed.


    Surely the water company should have informed her of the situation when she became bill payer? I think they should have a duty of care so customers only pay for what they use?
    Originally posted by michael8626
    Was the water company ever told?

    Even if they were, realistically, they have no duty to tell a bill payer what a previous bill payer connected to the water supply.

    For example, my water supplier has no idea what connections I have to my water supply.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 16th Sep 19, 7:28 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #8
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:28 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:28 AM
    Surely the water company should have informed her of the situation when she became bill payer? I think they should have a duty of care so customers only pay for what they use?
    Originally posted by michael8626
    How would they be aware of there being a "situation"?
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 16th Sep 19, 7:29 AM
    • 4,316 Posts
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    Fosterdog
    • #9
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:29 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Sep 19, 7:29 AM
    As the husband died 8 years ago but the current occupants have only lived there for 5 years then they might not be aware of any of this. Who did the current occupants buy or rent from? This might have all been sorted during conveyancing, how long were the previous occupiers living there and is there a way of contacting them to find out what they know and what was agreed?

    How much has she been paying? A fixed monthly amount which is correct for a single dwelling or is she paying for metered water and is paying for both?

    Ultimately it will have to be paid to be rectified and as it was her/her husband that set it up this way in the first place (I'm assuming to cut corners and save costs) it will be down to her to pay.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 16th Sep 19, 8:06 AM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    I'll pitch in because I have a friend who was unwittingly on the other side of a similar situation, not realising for several months that he wasn't being billed for water.

    As no sub meter is in place, where do we stand with the current owner of the supply address?
    Where you stand already - it sounds as if some sort of unofficial arrangement was struck up a long time ago, pre-dating the current tenants' arrival. If your friend is unwilling to continue that arrangement, she must pay to have the supply separated.

    Legally can we ask the supply address owner for a Ďdonationí towards the water bill for the previous 5 years?
    There's nothing stopping you asking for a contribution, but they have no obligation to make one.

    Do the water company have a case to answer re. Duty of care to its customers?
    No, because they probably have no idea about the arrangement. I suspect it was done unofficially/privately, so how would they know about it?

    Should we make a complaint or seek legal advice?
    I can't see what grounds there are for complaining or for taking legal action.
    • michael8626
    • By michael8626 16th Sep 19, 8:46 AM
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    michael8626
    How would they be aware of there being a "situation"?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    The bill has a supply address and a different billing address
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 16th Sep 19, 8:48 AM
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    davidmcn
    The bill has a supply address and a different billing address
    Originally posted by michael8626
    That's hardly unusual, and really isn't a sign of the problem we're talking about.
    • michael8626
    • By michael8626 16th Sep 19, 8:49 AM
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    michael8626
    The water company are aware of the situation due to the different billing and supply addresses on the bill.

    My friend genuinely has no idea of any agreement her late husband had with occupants of the supply address.
    • michael8626
    • By michael8626 16th Sep 19, 8:52 AM
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    michael8626
    That's hardly unusual, and really isn't a sign of the problem we're talking about.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    They are neighbouring properties, half a mile apart.

    Itís like supply address 10 high street, billing address 11 high street.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 16th Sep 19, 8:58 AM
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    Robin9
    They are neighbouring properties, half a mile apart.

    Itís like supply address 10 high street, billing address 11 high street.
    Originally posted by michael8626
    As has been said that's not unusual - it's like a landlord living in one house and paying the bill of another property he owns but is tenanted out.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • mattyprice4004
    • By mattyprice4004 16th Sep 19, 8:58 AM
    • 4,204 Posts
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    mattyprice4004
    Yes and that happens a lot, and isnít indicative of this situation to the water co.
    If thatís all they had to go on, then itís nothing theyíd investigate further.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 16th Sep 19, 9:13 AM
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    davidmcn
    They are neighbouring properties, half a mile apart.

    Itís like supply address 10 high street, billing address 11 high street.
    Originally posted by michael8626
    So what? It's not a sign that the two houses are connected to the same supply, or even if it were, that that isn't what was intended.
    • Fosterdog
    • By Fosterdog 16th Sep 19, 9:16 AM
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    Fosterdog
    The water company are aware of the situation due to the different billing and supply addresses on the bill.

    My friend genuinely has no idea of any agreement her late husband had with occupants of the supply address.
    Originally posted by michael8626
    There can be a number of reasons for separate billing and supply addresses.

    As already mentioned it could be a landlord. It could be a second home. It could be an empty home that's been inherited. It could just be an empty home that owner hasn't decided what to do with yet, or one that is on the market waiting for a buyer. It could be parents paying bills for adult children, or an ex spouse still paying utilities on the family home. It could be an empty property because an elderly resident has gone into a care home, it could be someone using their power of attorney to manage somebody else's finances.

    There would be no reason whatsoever for the waterboard to automatically assume there is something else going on with the supply just because there are two different addresses. It sounds more like the husband did it all without actually informing the waterboard, especially considering the 1/2 mile distance between properties.
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