Water company billing my tenant £5100 for emergency repairs!

by Mick Roberts

8:51 AM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Water company billing my tenant £5100 for emergency repairs!

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Water company billing my tenant £5100 for emergency repairs!

Has anyone any experience of this? My tenant received the below email after asking the Water company to contact me. She told me she did get letters beforehand saying Emergency work to be undertaken due to a leak.

I’ve had this before on houses with shared drains and let the council get it done, and send us the bill ie £300 divided by 6 houses, £50 each.

But this one, they have to bill the tenant apparently, the service user. The bill is £5100, 3 houses, £1700 each.

I will pay for the gal if I have to as she’s good, been with me approx 10 years, can see her being with me another 5 years, and I’m trying to get her to buy the house off me as she is now working and I’m gonna pay her 5% deposit, so all good with us two.

I don’t want the girl paying and I feel the water company should be billing me then I will argue the amount.

Has anyone any experience of this?

I will pay if I have to, but £1700 for something I had no knowledge about hurts the mind. Is there any argument I have? I’m not leaving it for the part-time working good relationship tenant to pay, so no suggestions on that, please. However, if I can get us both out of it somehow, I’d like to know.

My main argument I had no notice whatsoever, yes the girl did, but she never thought they’d bill her direct and it would be £5100 divided by the 3 houses.

Below the email, I’d also found this bit of info on the internet.

Hello XXXX

Thanks for your email.

We legally issue the section 75 and the charges to the consumer which is the person living in the property using the water supply. Therefore, the bill is in your name and will remain in your name unless the landlord contacts us in writing requesting to take responsibility.

I hope this helps.
Many thanks

XXX Severn Trent Water
Customer Leak Support
Email: customerleaksupport@severntrent.co.uk
Contact number: 0345 266 0036

——————- Original Message ——————-
From: XXXX
Received: 04/08/2020 16:30
To: customer.care@severntrent.co.uk; customer.care@severntrent.co.uk
Subject: Account number XXXX

Hi regarding payment over due for work that got carried out on property XXXX street , I’m getting the letters but I actually don’t own the property this will need to re directed to the owner /Lanlord thanks .

Water Authority Section 75 Notice – Leaking Mains Water Pipe


A section 75 notice must allow at least seven days for any works specified to be taken.

Crucially for landlords, the notice may only be served on the “consumer” [1]. As it turns out therefore, in this case we’ve not had any notice from the water authority as it can only be served on the consumer which is our tenant. As a result, we are not bound by the 14 days.


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Comments

Graham Bowcock

10:17 AM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

One of my houses had a bad leak last year and, coincidentally the supplier was Severn Trent (but in the Welsh Water area). I have to say that their servcie was excellent and we never paid a penny. I was rather expecting to get a bill a bit like yours and thought I would have to pay something.

My excellent long term tenant started the ball rolling as there was water lying on his drive and he was getting large bills. ST let me take over dealings and I met their guys on site a couple of times.

I'm afraid I can't comment on the legal position of their charges, but generally they treat leaks sensitively as they are targeted by OFWAT to avoid them.

Maybe see if they will waive/reduce the charge to get it settled without a fuss.

Smartermind

10:30 AM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

The tenant is the consumer and the water company have billed her £1700 not £5100 as the screaming headline claims. Do you pay her electric, gas and other bills as well, if not why should this be any different? It is good and understandable that you want to help her out, so go 50:50 on the bill especially if you are planning on giving her a 5% discount on the sale of the house.
Not an emergency repair, but we had our lead water pipes replaced with plastic and had to pay for the works that were on our grounds and property. Conversely we had blocked drains unblocked free of charge as the gutter from the roof from our neighbour s house drains to our side and it was deemed to be communal and hence the water company accepted liability.

James Noble

10:48 AM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Hello, Yes, I had a similar problem. Bill from Severn Trent for £4500 to fix leak we had no knowledge of. It was on my tenant's land and our side of the meter - therefore our responsibility. I tried my insurance company and after a lot of fuss, they sent an inspector around to view the (now filled-in) hole. They agreed to pay, less excess. Might be worth a try?

Mike T

13:45 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by James Noble at 17/08/2020 - 10:48
Similar to your experience James. Leak was suspected due to higher metered usage. Got 'my Man who does' on the job. I suggested he dig down close to the pavement - in the garden of our property - and check from there. He found the leak not a foot from the meter , on our side, just under the pavements concrete edging .
My man did not want to touch as the water company had put a crimped connection to our supply pipe. After speaking to the waterboards emergency leak section they came out within an hour and sorted it all out and no charge was made ! Well done to southwest water.

Mick Roberts

14:32 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 17/08/2020 - 10:17
Aah interesting,

I'm about to email them direct.

Mick Roberts

14:32 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 17/08/2020 - 10:30
If she's on minimum wage, expecting her to pay £850 would be wrong, I'm surprised the water company even bills the tenant in the first place.

Mick Roberts

14:32 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by James Noble at 17/08/2020 - 10:48
Yes good point, I could try insurance company, my excess £1000, but they could say Not your bill Mick, it's tenants.

Kate Mellor

17:51 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 17/08/2020 - 10:30
Am I missing something here? Surely a landlord is legally obligated to repair leaks and pay for said repairs, so regardless of who the bill is made out to, it’s the landlord’s repairing obligation and presumably therefore the landlord’s debt. The tenant may owe STW, but the landlord in turn owes the tenant.
The only argument the landlord may have is that the tenant didn’t forward the information about the leak in a timely manner enabling the landlord to potentially have the work done more cheaply.

James Noble

18:07 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

I agree, Kate. Severn Trent billed me as the owner of the house, not the tenant. Similarly, I was able to claim on the buildings insurance - my responsibility to insure, not the tenants. I did have a high excess, but happily paid it. James

Mike T

18:21 PM, 17th August 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kate Mellor at 17/08/2020 - 17:51
Hi Kate, you are quite right it is the landlords obligation to have the leak repaired IF it is on, or in, his property. The tenant is not the one to have to pay. In my situation ( see my comment at 10:48) I checked my insurance company they advised that if I want to make a claim they would instruct /organize the repairs. I would have to pay the excess which was £500. I then got in touch with my maintenance man and gave him the scenario . Saying ' If you want the job and could do it all for £500 maximum, then please go ahead' . He did just that and I paid about £250 plus VAT for him to locate the leak which the water company repaired at no cost . Result. NO COST to tenant of course.

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