Is Landlord liable for Tenant's unpaid water bills?

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  • Is Landlord liable for Tenant's unpaid water bills?

    Anyone any experience of water company trying to dump unpaid tenants water bills on landlord. I have HMO with seperate meters in each flat which the water co. have always billed to the occupier. However they have just sent me a huge bill for a flat which has been let on AST which clearly states water to be paid by tenant with meter reading at start of tenancy.
    This is very worrying as there are 7 flats here and if they try to pin every unpaid bill going back several years on me then basically I am in deep trouble!
    Any advice or source of accurate information gratefully received

  • #2
    They can try, sometimes they will try it on, but you are not liable (unless there is a law that I am not aware of). Produce the tenancy agreement to the water company and that should be the end of the story as far as them billing you is concerned.

    Only this week, there was a card through the letter box of a property I manage which didn't say anything other than "welcome to your new home" with a long reference number. I just knew it had something to do with the delinquent tenant I inherited who recently abandoned the property and had a history of not paying bills. I called the water company to find out and they declared they had no record of who was the occupier or if indeed the property was occupied. The tenant has been there since 2003 . The lady on the phone asked me to repeat the "2003" part three times. She couldn't believe it. I just said that I have a tenancy agreement if they need it, she said no, that's fine, they will pursue the tenant.

    I always notify the utilties of changes of tenancy but didn't with this one as the tenant had been in the property for years before I took over.

    I also, had a property whereby mid way through the tenancy, "someone" notified the water company that the property was unoccupied. I found this out when I notified them of the tenants vacating with the closing reading. A week later, I had the old tenants on the phone wanting to know why a huge water bill had arrived at their new address for their old property! Again, I simply told the water company I have the tenancy agreement etc to prove who was the occupier at the time the water was used. I've never heard a word since.
    ETA I assume your tenancy agreement states that the tenant is responsible for the water charges

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    • #3
      Thanks for the advice Bunny, you did well to spot my question as I'm new to this and put it in the wrong place! Impressed so far hopefully will find out how to use it properly soon. Regards John

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