Here is a question to the blog clinic from Brenda who is a tenant
Moved into this private rented property last year. Water meter read at the start of the tenancy and Anglian Water advised. We started paying a monthly Direct Debit. All OK until Anglian Water read the meter last week and the resulting bill came to £1900.
They have now checked and there is a leak on their side (which they have mended) and another leak on our side. The landlord is aware and is dealing with this when he returns from holiday at the end of this week.
My worry is that we will be responsible for payment of this huge bill, as our tenancy agreement says we are responsible for payment of utilities but doesn’t allow for circumstances such as this.
What are we liable for, legally?
You should not be responsible for any leakage from pipes which it is your water companies responsibility to look after.
So far as the leakage due to your pipes is concerned, note that under s11 (1)(b) of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 your landlord must
“keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, …”
So any loss and extra bills resulting from a failure to comply with this should be down to him.
However, before getting into an argument with your landlord – note that you should be able to claim a ‘domestic leakage allowance’ from your water company. This is usually available where:
- The leak has been repaired
- It was not caused by your negligence and
- You have not claimed an allowance before
So once your pipes have been fixed, have a word with your water authority about this. There is a page on the Anglian Water site about this here.