Can I be sued for £400 per month water bills?

by Readers Question

9:40 AM, 18th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Can I be sued for £400 per month water bills?

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Can I be sued for £400 per month water bills?

My tenant had a leak in their property which they reported several times to the letting agent I use, using the email address provided on the tenancy agreement as the agreed point of contact. email fail

However, the email address was for someone who left the company and the tenant wasn’t informed of this. Consequently there is a string of well over 40 emails reporting the leak with no action taken. The tenant is now reporting bills of £1600 per year.

Could the tenant sue over this? If so, would it be myself or the letting agent who would be responsible.

I am also concerned the letting agent will try and pin the blame on me, and fabricate emails saying they tried to contact me.

Many thanks

Tom



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:44 AM, 18th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Tom,

I am not a Barrister but surely there must be some form of personal responsibility here on behalf of the tenant.

If you sent 40 emails without reply would you not consider calling or assuming it is possible you may have the wrong email address or as in this case it is no longer used?

You can obviously complain to the agents and their redress scheme, but mistakes happen and I cannot understand anyone sending 40 emails without reply. It is beyond belief.

Thomas Jackson

18:34 PM, 18th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Thanks for getting back to me. A bigger part of the issue is the old member of staff - who the defunct email address belonged to - didn't reply to their emails before (for unrelated issues) and denied seeing them when the tenant brought this up. Presumably this irresponsible behavior was a big part of the reason he's no longer working for the letting agent. The former staff member did eventually respond, which I'd imagine led the tenant to believe that he was just ignoring their emails and would respond eventually.

I'm very frustrated about this as I would've been happy to oblige in getting the leak fixed - I'm a responsible landlord and I've always been more than happy to oblige with repairs, but the behavior of the letting agent is making it look like I've ignored their requests.

KATHY MILLER

9:05 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

I had a tenant who had a leak and had the 10th highest bill in the country according to water company.
A single person, who was able to show that all her previous bills were around £200 .
The water company was very good and she did not get charged the bill but an average of her previous 5 years. I think they thought someone has tapped into the supply l.

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:17 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

I also have heard that if you get the water company out and they locate the leak that they have discretion to cut the bill. That's the first course of action I would take. If that fails I would then get on to the letting agency to at least pay half, for example, and maybe the tenant and you could cut the other half between you?

Steven Burman

10:47 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Tom,

I agree with Neil, if you send 40 emails without a response it is bloody obvious that something is wrong and you follow it up with a phone call. The tenant could also have enlisted your help a lot sooner. The lettings agent have given you some pretty poor excuses.

It sounds like you need new tenants and a new letting agent!

SB

Bill Williams

11:24 AM, 21st January 2017
About 2 years ago

Did they not think to contact the local water authority?


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