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Water Inclusive Rent Question

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840 views 3 replies latest reply: 15 May 2015

Hi all,

I recently got a shock when a water bill tumbled through my letterbox. I had assumed that water was in my landlord’s name, but upon calling him I was told he was only responsable for a gas heater that the appartments shared and which heated the water. Upon checking my contract, I saw what I thought had been there: “Rent: XXX/Month inclusive of water and exclusive of all other utilities”. Yet the bill has been put in my name, and leaves me liable, and under time-pressure having been pottering around assuming this was all taken care of.

So my questions are 1) Can I approach him to pay the water and, if so, 2) Has he, by giving my details to the water company when that should have been his responsability, broken any other rules – data protection etc? Sure there is some protection against a landlord agreeing to pay bills in the shorthold tennancy agreement and then putting their names on the bill!?

Anyhow, thanks for any help! I’ve researched literally everywhere and found so little!

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Hi Christopher

Have you spoken directly to the landlord? (as opposed to a letting agent) And have you pointed out to whoever you’re dealing with that the contract specifically states ‘inclusive of water’? It’s pretty hard to argue against anything that’s in a signed contract, it’s there in legal black and white.

Normally the occupier is responsible for water charges in the eyes of the water company – until they get a letter from the landlord stating otherwise so, as between you and the water company, you’re responsible for that charge and you need to make sure it’s paid to avoid consequences for you. However, between you and the landlord, the tenancy makes them responsible so should the water company take action against you, you’d probably be within your rights to take action against the landlord (although I’m not a lawyer).

In terms of preserving good relations with the landlord you could politely point out that this the case and ask them A) to provide the letter to the water company stating that they are responsible, as the tenancy states or B) come to an agreement (in writing) that you pay rent each month that amounts to rent less the monthly water charge with the first payment taking into account what is now owed. Either way, just be clear that you’re happy to go with either option that suits them but the tenancy requires one or the other.

In terms of data protection, you could report them to the Information Commissioner – or threaten to if they don’t send that letter to the water company. I’m not sure what action the ICO would take, normally for small breaches it’s just corrective action or investigation and the fines and prosecutions are saved for bigger organisations making serious breaches but it might be worth a try.


Service provider

 Have you spoken to the water company.  If you contact them and send them a copy of the tenancy agreement they may well re-address the bills to the landlord direct.  This would be my first port of call.


Speak directly to the landlord, it could be an oversight


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