£4000 water bill due to Water leak

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    £4000 water bill due to Water leak

    Hi all,

    We currently live in a rented 1 bed flat and have been here for just over a year.

    We recently had a call from our water supplier to let us know we have a £4000 water bill on its way in the post. They called suggesting it was a leak and to carry out tests asap.

    Over the last 12 months being issued estimated readings only (£30pm), this was explained as due to covid-19 (our meter is below a large cover and not accessible by us either).

    After informing the letting agent and carrying out the tests I was advised to complete I finally have had engineers out to check our water meter etc and see if it is a leak.

    They have found a few things:

    1. The water meter itself was broken
    2. We have a severe leak in the properties supply pipe (between mains stop tap and our internal stop tap so outside of about 12 litres a minute).

    Once the landlord fixes the issue who is then responsible for the massive water bill left over?

    The water company have said they would reassess our usage once fixed and make a decision if they would allow any credit for the bill (reduce what's owed) but they were clear in stating this is at a managers discretion as the water "has been used" and was not at the fault of them there was a leak.

    The bill/account is in our name, not the LL, but the leak was outside the property under the drive from the supply pipe the LL is responsible for. Neither of us could have known about the leak until we were informed by the water provider and its massive due to lack of manual testing over the last year done due to Covid-19.

    Any input is appreciated to help me understand the legalities of this or what to do next.

    #2
    Look up the "leakage allowance" policy for your individual water company. (I think you'll be alright)
    This is quite typical;
    • For leaks that you are responsible to fix, you must repair the leak within 28 days of our visit to qualify for the allowance, and you must claim the allowance within six months of the date of repair.
    • We calculate your allowance based on your normal usage.

    Comment


      #3
      https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-supply/...esponsibility/

      Comment


        #4
        After your instruction and looking it up, my water supplier does state that if the leak is fixed within 28 days (sometimes can be fixed for free by them in certain circumstances) they offer a "one off allowance" to cover the cost of water lost.

        This makes me optimistic as i would not want to enter a dispute with our landlord. Regarding responsibity for this however im guessing the request and fix would be on behalf of the landlord? Or as the bill/account is in my name would it be down to us to enquire about this?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Tankus View Post
          (sometimes can be fixed for free by them in certain circumstances)
          In the first place I'd try this.

          And just keep the landlord informed out of courtesy.

          Comment


            #6
            I would suggest the landlord is responsible for the repair statutorily, so it wouldn't be just out of courtesy, but something you want to do ASAP from a legal point of view. Practically, being good by actively work with LL to get it repaired for free by the water company to maintain a good relationship with the landlord, as well as just being the right thing to do of course.
            I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

            I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

            Comment


              #7
              Legally, the account holder/occupant is liable for any leak occuring. A leak of 12 litres/min could seriously undermine the drive and Property. A broken water meter may encourage Water Co to offer some concession

              Comment


                #8
                In response to us as the account holder/occupant being liable for a leak occuring:

                I am not sure this is the case. As mentioned the leak is outside the property (flat) and outside the flat building itself on the supply pipe. This as far as i can tell is the LL resposibilty not ours.

                The leak as far we know could have also been going on for a 6 months to a year and the area shows no sign on damp or water dmg so that im guessing is a blessing as property damage would only make the situation worse.

                I have informed the letting agency as I do not have direct communications with the landlord - is this something you would suggest enquiring about?

                Comment


                  #9
                  I would expect the water company to refund most/all of the bill due to the leak.

                  Unless you can show that the landlord was negligent in not noticing the leak (or caused it in some way), they're responsible for fixing the problem, but not the bill for the water.
                  You didn't notice the problem and it's difficult to imagine that the landlord could have done.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    If the meter is broken how do they know the reading is correct, particularly as there is no sign of any water leak.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You can't access the meter? Is there some kind of lock on the cover? Not sure how they can blame you if there are no clear signs of a leak and you have no access to the meter to check.

                      I assume by what you have said that there are multiple pipes from the boundary of the property going to each flat. Because if it is one pipe that splits next to the meters then all flats would need to fix the pipe.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        So quick update: spoken with the LL and water company. I am waiting now whilst they dispute/locate/fix the leak as this is not something I am involved with. Water company have also said they will address the billing after the fact but no matter the outcome I as the account holder will be resposible for any usage left on the bill afterwards.

                        They also could not say even if they would cover this under leak allowance for the bill until after the fix. They did however make clear no matter the amount left this would be paid by myself and if i have any disputes over this due to the leak this would be a third party dispute with my LL.

                        So fingers crossed atm I do not get left with a large bill for leaked water as I do not want to have to have any dispute with the LL.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Water meter is broken so impossible to correctly bill you for the water leak - how did they estimate £4,000? - that suggests that they have made a calculation based on knowledge of the leak. How would they know it had been leaking 1 day or 1 year to calculate their bill?

                          If its after their meter in the roadway it then becomes the property owners responsibility - is there 1 main meter for each flats supply? or 1 main meter which then comes inside the property boundary and shoots off to individual meters for each flat?

                          Assuming they are leasehold, if the damage is within the boundary it would be the freeholders bill - all of the leaseholders pay toward insurance to cover against the cost of such a thing happening.

                          I would speak with your landlord and ask him/her to keep you informed on what is happening - you shouldn't need to get involved with any of it - certainly don't offer to pay for anything.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Tankus View Post
                            but no matter the outcome I as the account holder will be resposible for any usage left on the bill afterwards.

                            They also could not say even if they would cover this under leak allowance for the bill until after the fix. They did however make clear no matter the amount left this would be paid by myself and if i have any disputes over this due to the leak this would be a third party dispute with my LL.
                            That's a bit conviently misleading by them. If the bill is rightfully due, then yeah your arguments will be with the landlord, but if the dispute is about whether the bill is even rightfully due, then that'd be with them.

                            You should probably be more proactively involved rather than stand off to the side while the water company and landlord argues over something which will ultimately decide how much you will be charged for. The landlord may not care about minimising that figure if they don't believe they are legally responsible for it, and the water company will certainly not be interested in minimising it.
                            I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                            I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                            Comment

                            Latest Activity

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X