Tenants, keep your heads above water…
07 Mar 2020
I am a pensioner, and also a home owner, who lives with my mother. The other day I went to visit a friend who lives in a flat. She has spent some time now caring for her elderly disabled husband who, for the past three years has been too ill to leave his bed, and suffers from dementia. She does not get out much and really appreciates the odd visit.
We got talking and she mentioned that her water bill had just arrived. It used to be part of her rent payment but two months ago her landlord informed all the tenants in the building that they would have to pay directly. This came as a bit of a shock to her because of the really negative effect it has on her already strained income. She opted to pay by direct debit and her monthly payment is about £33.00 per month.
While we were talking, I had a bit of a think and when I checked it occurred to me that I did not pay that much in spite of the fact that I have a water metre and a mum who spends many a summer’s evening watering her beloved garden.
I pay every half a year and had a check on my last two bills which came to quite a bit less than what she was being asked to pay, so I got on the telephone and asked a question or two. We called Thames Water, her service provider, and got a few answers that I think some others may like to hear.
We all remember a few years ago, when we were told that we all had to have water metres fitted before being told about all the flats that would not be able to have one, and that would be paying a nominal rate. Because my friend’s landlord was paying at that time, no assessment of her flat, regarding if there could be meters fitted there, was ever made.
Thames water told us that, when the payment of water rates is passed from a landlord to their tenants, those tenants are also sent a form designed to assess if they are paying the right amount for their water. They also said that many people don’t bother with that form and end up paying a lot more for their water than they need to. There are reduced rates in place that many tenants could be unaware of while they are paying more for their water than they need to, and many of the buildings in question were never actually checked to see if meters could be fitted.
So if you are a tenant, who has recently been told that you have to pay your water bill directly, please check to make sure that you are not paying too much for your water. Depending on your circumstances you could be entitled to benefit from the ‘WaterSure’ or ‘WaterSure Plus scheme’ which potentially could leave you with a bill of up to half the cost of the one you are paying.
LPG found some information on the WaterSure schemes and learned that a telephone call to the telephone number on your bill could be worth making.