Having Water Meter Turned Off

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    Having Water Meter Turned Off

    I rang the water company at beginning of the year to inform them new tenants had moved in and was told that there was a meter installed. This is news to me. I asked when the meter was installed. They reply 2008. I didn't ask if it was for the whole block or just my flat as I can't see any meter outside the property. The propery is in a block of flats.

    I have a family of 4 moved in who have seen the 1st month bill of £50 and have complained to me. They are saying would prefer to have a flat charge. Do you know if you can ask water company to turn off the meter (not remove it, just turn it off) and go on an unmetered service?

    I've read elsewhere you can have it removed within 12 months but that has lapsed and I didn't know about it as it was on a long-term contract with a local agent.

    How should I approach this?

    #2
    I understand that it varies from one water suplier to the next - so phone yours up and ask. They probably won't physically remove it even if they allow you switch to flat rate - just leave it in place but not use the readings.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Fletch.

      Comment


        #4
        Is it possible that your tenant is being asked to pay for some of the previous tenant's water? Did anyone take a reading when they moved in?
        To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Handson View Post
          I rang the water company at beginning of the year to inform them new tenants had moved in and was told that there was a meter installed. This is news to me. I asked when the meter was installed. They reply 2008. I didn't ask if it was for the whole block or just my flat as I can't see any meter outside the property. The propery is in a block of flats.

          I have a family of 4 moved in who have seen the 1st month bill of £50 and have complained to me. They are saying would prefer to have a flat charge. Do you know if you can ask water company to turn off the meter (not remove it, just turn it off) and go on an unmetered service?

          I've read elsewhere you can have it removed within 12 months but that has lapsed and I didn't know about it as it was on a long-term contract with a local agent.

          How should I approach this?
          Probably by grinning and bearing it.

          I had that happen to me in the last 2 years. Unfortunately in my case the installation of the meter appears to have precipitated a crack in the water pipe below floor level, and they didn't tell us about the resulting trickle leak either which we found after umpteen months when they had gone. As a result we had a plumber digging a hole in the floor.

          This is one where a tenant has a legal right to make a permanent change behind your back, and usually there's not a lot you can do - all as part of the drive towards water meters.

          You can put it in your agreement that the water meter will not be changed (or apply a charge?), but I have no confidence that that would stick in a Court of Law.

          The only answers I know are :

          a) The tactical one of not having low water using tenants in the property where you don't want a water meter.
          b) More usefully, include the water in the rent as a fixed payment, then there's no financial incentive to make the change.
          c) Specifically include the water supply in your inspection each time - water meters should be detectable, as somebody has to read them.
          d) Keep asking the water company if one is installed.

          Given time, non-metered supplies will be a marketing point for some tenants.

          I think (b) in my list is the most likely to work.

          ML
          Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

          Comment


            #6
            Water Industry Act 1999
            You are here:1999 c. 9Part ISection 11

            11 Rights of tenants in relation to metering.E+W.After section 209 of the Water Industry Act 1991, there is inserted—
            “209A Rights of tenants in relation to metering..(1)Subject to subsection (3) below, no express or implied term of any tenancy is to be regarded—.
            (a)as excluding or restricting the exercise by the tenant of any right to give—.
            (i)a measured charges notice under section 144A above, or.
            (ii)any consent for the purposes of section 144B(2)(a)(ii) above,.
            (b)as preventing the installation or connection, in pursuance of such a notice or consent given by the tenant, of a meter for use in determining the charges which may be fixed in relation to water supplied to the premises comprised in the tenancy, or.
            (c)as requiring any consent to be obtained in relation to such installation or connection..
            (2)In subsection (1) above “tenancy” includes a licence which is treated as a tenancy by virtue of section 79(3) of M1the Housing Act 1985; and references to a “tenant” are to be construed accordingly..
            (3)Subsection (1) above does not apply where the tenancy is a fixed term tenancy for a term of less than six months; and for this purpose “fixed term tenancy” means any tenancy other than a periodic tenancy.”.

            I live and learn every day.
            So the only way to prevent any tenant fitting a water meter without consent would appear to be only offer a max 6 month fixed term AST and allow it to continue as a monthly periodic T. I believe the water Co still requires owners permission on the application form for a water meter to actually fit one. If LL refused I assume T would have to take him to Court citing the above.
            Ts cause LLs enough problems changing gas & electric suppliers at the drop of a hat and having prepayment key meters fitted but they can be changed/removed by the next T if reqd. Prob with most water meters, once fitted they cannot be removed so the T reverts to old rateable value system.
            IMO any LL paying the water rate (unmetered) does not increase the rent but adds a pro rata water surcharge ie 1/12 of annual water rate payable monthly on rent day.
            Slight loss to LL as he pays 1/2 year up front and reclaims over 6 months
            Don't include this surcharge in HMRC rental income

            I assume LLs cannot charge T more than cost of supply as per other utilities.

            #5
            b) More usefully, include the water in the rent as a fixed payment, then there's no financial incentive to make the change.
            I think (b) in my list is the most likely to work.

            I dont think so if T can save money with a meter and you cannot flat charge without profit/loss unless you know the Ts estimated annual usage.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mariner View Post
              I believe the water Co still requires owners permission on the application form for a water meter to actually fit one. If LL refused I assume T would have to take him to Court citing the above.
              The first I knew was when I saw it after the T had left. The account is in the name of T. Who says they admitted that they didn't own the property. I'd think that meter loving water companies would take care not to ask.

              See previous thread:

              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ut-L-s-consent

              And from Severn-Trent.

              "i am the tenant of a property, do i need my landlord's permission for a meter?
              Yes you still have the right to apply for a meter, but you should let your landlord know that you are applying. If you have a short term lease of less than 6 months, you must get written permission from your landlord."

              http://www.stwater.co.uk/server.php?...ebDoc.3054#q11

              Rgds

              ML
              Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

              Comment


                #8
                ML some Ts may well be 'economical with the truth' esp if the right question is not asked and indeed some water Co's may have their own agenda
                Handson -
                I have a family of 4 moved in who have seen the 1st month bill of £50 and have complained to me. They are saying would prefer to have a flat charge.

                If by 'flat charge' they mean a monthly rate based on annual rateable value bill, it may be worth pointing out that £50 / month = £600 pa. Even lowest rateable value bills in most areas would be around £500 pa. With a water meter they can influence what they are charged, with an unmetered bill they cannot.

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