Note - the Landlord Law Blog has now moved to www.landlordlawblog.co.uk.
A long standing Landlord-Law member has written to me informing me of a potential problem for HMO landlords with water rates. He tells me that
"I recently had a revised water bill from Thames Water back-dated six-years totalling nearly £8.000 for an eight-studio HMO that I own. Previously, I had paid the water rates based on the rateable value of the building (£circa £450.00 pa) as there is only one water supply that enters the property. I'm not sure whether there has been a change of law, but Thames Water (and, I believe, other water companies) are now billing each studio separately. Since I do not have a meter on the property, they have based the charge on the average water consumption of other (separately rateable) studios in the area. Since my studios are almost certainly a lot smaller and have single occupancy, I am planning on having a water meter installed as soon as possible."Fortunately my informant managed to get the invoice changed so it was only backdated to October 2008, however he wanted me to know the situation so I could warn other HMO landlords of the possible shock in store for them.