David Smith, solicitor and Partner in Anthony Gold Solicitors has some news for Welsh Landlords …
A perennial problem for Water Authorities is tenants leaving without paying their final water bill. This results in massive costs to the industry which we all ultimately have to pay for.
For some time there has been power to make landlords responsible for tenant’s water bills under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 but the powers that be had never actually brought the relevant clause into force.
However this is now changing in Wales.
Under the snappily named Water Industry (Undertakers Wholly or Mainly in Wales) (Information about Non-owner Occupiers) Regulations 2014, owners who do not reside the a property themselves must now provide the water supplier with the following information about their occupiers:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- The date they first occupied the premises.
This needs be done within 21 days of the start of the tenancy. Where tenancies are already in place the landlord will have to do this by 22 January 2015 – which is the date the regulations come into force.
Landlords can provide this information by post, telephone, email or an online portal to be found at www.landlordtap.com.
If this isn’t done, then the landlord will become liable, jointly with the tenant, for the bill. Not something that many landlords will want!
You will need to tell tenants in your tenancy agreement that this will be done, but most professionally drafted tenancy agreements already have this included. However it would be as well to check.
If this works and helps bring down the unpaid water charges in Wales, no doubt the industry will be agitating for the same rules to come into force in England. So watch this space.
You can find out more about David Smith on the Anthony Gold website.