Paying your water bills if you're renting

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you're a tenant you may either have a water bill in your own name, or pay for water as part of your rent. It's particularly common for local authority tenants to pay for water as part of their rent. If you're not sure if you pay for water as part of your rent, check your tenancy agreement.

If your rent includes water charges

If you pay your landlord or mobile home site owner for water, instead of paying the water company directly, this means you are being resold water. There are rules to make sure you aren’t overcharged. You shouldn’t be charged more than the amount the water company would charge, plus a reasonable administration fee.


If you think you might have been overcharged by your landlord, keep a record of how much you've paid and how much water you've used. If you've got a meter, check if it's registering your use of water correctly, check how much your landlord is charging you for water and then compare  the 2 amounts.

If you think you're being overcharged, explain the problem to your landlord and negotiate to pay the correct amount.

If your landlord won't refund the extra, your only option might be to take them to court. You should only consider doing this as a last resort.

For more information about going to court, see Small claims.

If your landlord is trying to evict you for rent arrears

If your landlord has overcharged you for water, you might be able to stop them evicting you. Talk to an adviser before you challenge the eviction.

If your landlord is not paying the water bill

If your landlord isn’t paying the water bill, the water company isn’t allowed to disconnect the supply, but can take legal action against the landlord.

If your landlord disconnects your supply, contact the local authority's Environmental Health Department or their Tenancy Relations Officer, if there is one, and ask for the supply to be reconnected.

You can also apply to the court for an injunction to get the supply reconnected, and claim damages for any costs you've had because of the disconnection. You should get legal advice before doing this.

If your landlord disconnects your water supply to try to make you leave the property, this is a form of harassment and is a criminal offence. If this happens, you should contact Citizens Advice or get legal advice.


If you have a shorthold tenancy

There are some types of tenancy, called an assured shorthold tenancy, where it's very easy for the landlord to evict you. If you try to take any action against your landlord, such as going to court or speaking to a Tenancy Relations Officer, this may lead to your landlord taking steps to evict you.

Before taking any action like this, it's probably best to get advice first.

More about assured shorthold tenancies.

Backdated water bills

If you get a backdated water bill, check the dates it refers to. If the dates refer to a previous tenancy or a time when you didn't live in the property, you should send the bill to your landlord. You should also check who's responsible for paying the water charges to the water company. If water charges are included in your rent, it will be your landlord so send the bill to them.

Next steps

Other useful information

Check which water company supplies your area on the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) website.

If you need more help with your water supply, contact the CCW on their website.

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020