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Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6795
Experience:  Solicitor
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We have a tricky issue.... two days ago (12th Sept) the

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We have a tricky issue.... two days ago (12th Sept) the water company phoned me and told me that our water usage was extremely high over the last 6 months (the water meter was installed at the end of Feb and only read by them on the 5th August).
Naturally I was worried so I went around our entire property (a rented 1960s era 3 storey townhouse) and found that the only possible culprit was the toilet next to the garage. There are 3 of us and the only time we use that room is to adjust the oil boiler setting as we use the main bathroom on the top floor for everything else.
When we are at home we spend some time in the kitchen and lounge but most of it upstairs, both areas are at least 1 storey above the offending toilet so any possible sound it has been making, if any (I only discovered the leak by putting a piece of toilet paper against the basin) is either too quiet to hear or drowned out by the boiler.
After I found it was leaking water from the cistern into the basin I inspected the parts that could possibly be causing it and the flush valve seal diaphragm is completely frayed and even has a split across the main ring.
We've lived in the property for almost 2 years now and the LandLord has not been around for any of the other repairs we have requested (guttering etc) and so far has been unresponsive to the requests to fix the toilet. I stopped the leak by preventing the cistern to refill on Monday and have ordered a replacement seal but have not yet attempted to fix it myself as the tenancy agreement states not to self-fix apart from emergencies.
The leak has amassed what my water company calls a substantial bill (they didn't tell me what it was but said they have been holding back the billing to the estimated payment we have already been making.
Who is liable for the excess water bill, will it also include sewage charges and will the month between the water company finding huge usage (5th August) and telling me about it (12th September) make any difference?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As an addition, when they called me on the 12th, they stated that when they checked it on the 5th of August it showed a usage of 299 cubic meters since February, they then checked a second time on the 5th of September and the meter showed 341 cubic meters used, when I checked the meter on the 12th of September (the day they notified me) it had risen to 361. Since I stopped the ground floor toilet from refilling (on the 12th Sept) it has stayed at 361.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

For now please let me know whether the Landlord inspects the property?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No the Land Lord has never inspected the property

Then the Landlord is liable. The Landlord should make sure that all fixtures and fittings work and are in order.

You need to wait to see what the bill is. Then you need to ask the Landlord for the excess difference to what you usually pay.

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank's Jamie, is the 14 days from the day that the Water Company send me the bill?Also will the Water company have to waive the cost of the cubic meters from the first date the found the problem (5th August) and the date that they told me about it (12th September)?

14 days from the time you notify the Landlord, which can only be once you get the invoice.

No, the Water Co will bill for actual usage.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the water company withheld for a month the information that could and did lead to the excessive usage stopping but will still charge for all usage including the usage that could have been prevented had they not withheld the information?

They may waive it, but if they dont you can complain and issue a complaint to the Water Council:

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you very much Jamie sorry for the delay.

All the best. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site does not pay me for the time spent with you today. Thank you in advance and good luck!

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