Tenants left me with their bills to pay?

Tenants left me with their bills to pay?

11:30 AM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago 10

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My tenants recently moved out, they didn’t pay some months, and they’ve left the house in a mess. Now they’ve gone, and I’ve had an £800 water bill from the water board!

I forgot to tell them new tenants were moved in, so their name hasn’t been on their history.

They’re now making me pay this £800 as they’ve never paid since they moved in 12 months ago. I’m already going through a dispute about them not paying 4 months rent and them wanting their deposit back.

What can I do or am I now liable for their unpaid bills?


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Reluctant Landlord

11:53 AM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

as it stands you are liable. If bill in your name that's it. You could sent the water company a copy of the TA, evidence that the rent has been paid by another person etc but may fall on deaf ears as easier to get payment from you than someone else where neither you or they have any idea now is.
Do not pay their deposit and take monies duly owed from this. Evidence to the deposit scheme you used.

John Mac

12:06 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Just send the Water Co. a copy of the AST showing their liability.

If you have proof of the rent arrears you should have no probs retaining their deposit. You can then issue a MCOL for the rest of the arrears.


13:00 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

I really cannot see the problem. Just send the water company the tenancy agreement and make it clear that you are not prepared to pay the tenant's water bill.
I normally phone the water company and give details of the new tenant and ask the tenant to do the same. I have had cases where the water company have said that they have no details of the tenant after the tenant has left and, I inform them that they were informed and offer to send the TA. In most of the cases, they just accepted the name and dates of the tenancy on the phone and I have never had to pay the tenant's bill and I have been renting for nearly 26 years now.

Judith Wordsworth

13:04 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

You might be responsible as the bill is in your name!

You could try sending the Water Board a copy of the tenancy agreement but only worth it if you have itemised that ALL utilities are to be transferred into the tenants name are you likely to get any joy. What other utilities were in the tenants name(s)? Was the Council Tax?

Not much comfort but it will be claimable against tax!

Chris Bradley

13:33 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

I use landlord tap for all my properties.

It records the names and dates of tenancy etc.

In Wales is an offence not to update the waterboard.

So landlord tap keeps a records of all changes

Christopher Rogal

14:06 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Many tenants do not register with the water companies. The companies are abysmal in this regard. They must be losing millions.

However a decent tenancy agreement will specify their responsibility.

How long was the non-payment period?

Did you see any of the bills that the company sent you?

Simon M

16:36 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

It may depend on your water utility. I found Anglian Water understood the problems a tenant can cause + very helpful. Definitely best to call them so you can explain your circumstances.

Water charges when the property is empty is a matter of utility policy, not law. The utility may reduce the charge if you can show evidence, an independent exit inventory or a date-stamped photo of the meter reading.

Finally, £800 is well above normal family household use. Obviously it varies by property/family size and area, but few tenants mow a lawn let alone water it. In a similar case I found excess water use was evidence the tenant had been sub-letting all along. Presuming you will pursue a claim, any supporting evidence of sub-letting might strengthen your claim.

Seething Landlord

17:11 PM, 14th June 2021, About 3 years ago

See section 45 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. If the owner of the building fails to notify the water board of the identity of the new occupier at the start of the tenancy he remains ultimately liable for payment of the water charges.

Jessie Jones

8:11 AM, 19th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 14/06/2021 - 17:11
I had a similar problem with a non-paying tenant when I first started out in this business.
The Landlord has a duty to inform the water supplier who has responsibility to pay the water charges, or remain liable themselves.
Severn Trent were very helpful once I gave them the tenants details. They were actually within their rights to pursue me for the money since the tenant never paid and eventually left giving no forwarding address.
Informing the water supplier is now one of my 'tick box' things to do at the start of each tenancy, which I do via email and they seem perfectly happy with this.
I have used Landlord Tap, but no longer do as their security protocols are disproportionate.

Seething Landlord

12:05 PM, 19th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jessie Jones at 19/06/2021 - 08:11
It's on our check list also. We simply inform the supplier by email with a closing meter reading when a tenant leaves and again with details of the new tenant, commencement date and opening meter reading, stating clearly that he is responsible for payment of charges from that date. We sometimes get a bill for the void period but usually this is waived if it is just a short time with little or no consumption.

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