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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My daughters boyfriend is a tenant in his mothers house.

Resolved Question:

My daughter's boyfriend is a tenant in his mother's house. She is not resident. Over the years, other tenants have come and gone, sharing the house with him. He has not had a bill from Southern Water for 8 years and last year received a letter from them saying he owed £4770. He is unemployed and would not be able to pay this even if it were valid. Can Southen Water suddenly produce a bill after such a long time? Would there be relief under the Limitation Act 1980? He has ignored the situation hoping it would go away, but now has had a letter threatening a bailliffs' visit. I would not want bailliffs taking items which might belong to my daughter, not him! What is his best course of action? Can it be considered a statute-barred debt?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : What period does the bill cover please?
JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

Hello,

JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

I have just texted my daughter to find out...

Alex Watts : Ok
JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

Just to let you know I am still awaiting the information you asked for from my daughter and I will come back to you as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.

JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

Hello again.

JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

I now have been sent two bills from Southern Water, one dated 20/06/13 which is the first my daughter's boyfriend received for 8 years or so, stating charge for period 08/04/13 to 20/06/13 is £118.92 and that "balance from previuos bill" is £4,655.86. Next bill is dated 19/06/14, for period 27/11/13 to 19/06/14, showing balance brought forward £4,571.91 and charge for 27/11/13 to 19/06/14 is £308.72.

JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

It is highly unlikely in my experience that any utility company would let such a large bill accumulate without taking action, so to receive a demand out of the blue after 8 years for £4,000 plus seems odd. A company called UK Search has written to them to say they are now taking over the matter and that a doorstep collector will be visiting their home to collect payment. The first letter from UK Search is dated 6/12/13 and the second 3/2/14. The boyfriend has admittedly buried his head in the sand since receiving the first £4000+ bill as he is unemployed and couldn't possibly pay. What should he do now? Does the Limitation Act 1980 apply? As stated, he had not received a bill for 8 years prior to June 2013 (which would fit in with the sudden charge of £4,000 as an annual estimated usage of water, perhaps.) Please can you help? Thank you!

JACUSTOMER-644e936p- :

I look forward to hearing from you.........

Customer:

I am still awaiting a reply. !!!

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
When you say 8 years - what period is that as you have 2013 above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I understand that nothing was received from Southern Water in the 8 years prior to contact in June 2013. The bill received then just says "balance carried forward" but not from what date. I assume that this must the accumulated charge over the preceding 8 years.

Thank you for your patience!

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
I see. Any bill can only be for the last 6 years under the Limitation Act 1980. Anything older than 6 years can not be recovered by law.
So any bills or charges prior to the 6 years can not be recovered.
can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much. I am not sure what happens with regard to charges that have arisen since the 8 year period - which no doubt Southern Water will say have accumulated. I assume that although they had not been asked for, the charges will be due. I can only hope there is some comeback against Southern Water for leaving their claim for so long, to accumulate to such a high figure before demanding payment. Surely they have a responsibility to keep customers advised of accruing charges, and by leaving it so long, are they not compounding the problem? It seems gross incompetence on their part.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Not necessarily, they have 6 years to being a claim from the date the debt accrued. Which is why they have the time under the Limitation act.
You just need to ask for evidence as to the billing period,
Yes it's not very good they have left it so long but there is no legal requirement otherwise.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi

I am just following up on this. Is there anything else I can help with? If so, please let me know.

Alex.

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