6:31 AM, 1st December 2016, About 5 years ago 12
In one of the properties I own the water is included in the services charges, which is very unusual but for the last 12 years hasn’t been a problem.
If the usage is particularly high (over 30 cubic metres in a quarter) I would look to charge the tenants, otherwise I include the water charges in the rent as it makes my property more attractive than others on the same development. It also saves a lot of admin time. I’ve never had to charge tenants any extra.
On 26th September my tenants reported a toilet wasn’t flushing properly and that they could hear water running. There were no visible signs of a leak causing any damage. My agent emailed on 27th to inform me of the issue and to advise they had booked in a contractor to take a look. I thought nothing more of it.
I authorised works to go ahead after receiving the contractors quote on 7th October 2016. The job was completed on 29th October 2016 due to parts having to be ordered in and the contractor booking in with the tenants. The plumber was paid quickly as always.
The tenant then called again on 24th November to say the problem was still there. My agents contacted the original plumber who went back in to resolve the issue free of charge yesterday. At least I hope it is fixed this time!
It just so happens that the freehold management company, who are an excellent RTM, read the meter yesterday. They called me to advise that 192 cubic metres of water had been used compared to 25 the previous quarter. I was shocked to get the call but clearly they were concerned too. They calculated that the water usage bill for the quarter would be £692. OUCH !!!
Now the question is; who pays this bill?
My tenants are not happy because they’ve had to put up with the problem for two months. The water bill isn’t their problem because they reported the the issue with the toilet in a timely manner. I certainly don’t feel I can make them pay.
My agents acted acted in a timely fashion.
The plumber was a bit slow off the mark but I can’t see that I will get any money out of him!
So it appears that I’m going to have to take this one on the chin unless anybody has any suggestions.
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