The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has issued a warning to landlords ahead of the Welsh Government’s new regulations under the Water Industry Act which could mean that landlords become jointly liable for their tenants’ water debt.
Under the Act to be implemented from the 1st of January 2015, landlords will be jointly liable with their tenants for water bills if they have failed to inform the water companies about their tenants’ details.
From that date there will be a legal obligation on all landlords who own properties in the Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water areas to share certain information about their tenants with their water company.
Most of the properties affected are in Wales, but these Welsh Water Authority areas also extend into parts of Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire.
According to the RLA landlords will be under an obligation to notify the relevant water company of the tenants’: (1) full name, (2) full property address and postcode (2) date of birth (if you have it) (3) the date the tenancy began for each of the occupants.
Where there are existing tenancies landlords are obliged to inform the relevant company about existing occupants by the 21st January 2015, and for new occupants within 21 days of them moving in or when their tenancy or contractual arrangement begins (whichever is sooner).
The RLA are recommending that landlords or agents inform the relevant water company via the designated Landlordtap website (www.landlordtap.com). The RLA have been told that the “landlord Tap” online facility will be live from 22nd December 2014.
For more details please read the full guidance on the RLA website here
Landlords and agents can find who the relevant water provider (company) is here
To avoid problems from utilities companies and local authorities generally it is good practice to inform them: council tax, electricity, gas, water, telephone etc., of the tenants’ details by letter, e-mail, fax or online as in the above case, both at the commencement of a tenancy and when the tenancy ends giving the relevant dates.
Landlords should provide opening and closing meter readings in all cases for bill apportionments and should provide forwarding addresses where possible when tenants leave to avoid being billed for tenant’s liabilities.
RLA warns landlords could have joint liability with their tenants for water bills under new Welsh Water Industry Act. http://t.co/EluFw4Oe96
— Tom Entwistle (@EntwistleTom) December 15, 2014