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Bad debt currently adds an average of £15 to every water customer’s bill and Government is committed to tackling this bad debt to lower bills. Occupiers of properties are liable for water charges but some people do not pay their bills. Most water debtors are tenants. In an attempt to tackle this issue, section 45 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 provides that landlords are liable for water charges if they do not pass the details of their tenants to water companies.
This part of the Act is not yet in force and in order for it to come into force the Secretary of State must issue Regulations which specify the details that landlords need to provide. We are consulting on draft Regulations. However, we know that this measure will put a small burden on landlords of having to provide the details. We are therefore also consulting on an alternative, non-regulatory approach to tackling bad debt. This is a voluntary scheme where Government would ask landlords, and other holders of data on occupancy to share information with water companies.
This consultation is aimed at water and sewerage companies, water customers, organisations representing customers, landlords and organisations representing landlords. We welcome responses from all interested parties.
Welsh ministers have identical powers to issue Regulations in Wales so this consultation is for England only. After the consultation ministers will make a decision on next steps.
Please e-mail responses no later than 16 April 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you wish you can send in your response by letter to:
Bad Debt Consultation
Area 2C, Ergon House
London SW1P 2AL