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Landlords welcome voluntary water scheme

RLA
Written by RLA

Landlords are today welcoming the Government’s decision to proceed with measures for them to notify water companies on a voluntary basis of their tenants to prevent them from not paying their bills…

Landlords are today welcoming the Government’s decision to proceed with measures for them to notify water companies on a voluntary basis of their tenants to prevent them from not paying their bills.

In a letter to water companies, Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP has outlined the Government’s plans to establish a new voluntary database for landlords to provide information about their tenants to water companies.

Households currently pay an extra £15 on their water bills to cover the cost of those who do not pay. Ministers believe that much of the problem rests with tenants who fail to settle their bills when they move to a new property.

Today’s measure is designed to get rid of this charge by making sure tenants cannot escape paying their charges.

The proposal is in contrast to that being suggested by the Welsh Government which wants to make landlords legally responsible for providing such information or face having to pay the debt left by their tenants.

A survey of RLA members in Wales found that all of those who responded opposed making such a measure a legal requirement for landlords. 63% however already provided information on a voluntary basis whilst almost 80% said they would support a voluntary scheme such as that being suggested by the UK Government.

Commenting on the Environment Secretary’s statement, Richard Jones, the RLA’s Policy Director said:

“Landlords recognise the cost of living pressures that tenants face. That’s why official figures show that rents have increased by less than the rate of inflation over the past 8 years.

“Making landlords legally liable for the debt incurred on water bills where they did not pass on their tenants details to water companies would serve only to add to the creaking weight of regulations already affecting the sector and lead to increased rents to reflect the greater risks involved.

“Whilst it is vital that the technology to implement the scheme is properly tested and thought through first, the RLA welcomes the Government’s decision to opt for a lighter touch, voluntary solution that the majority of landlords already abide by.” 

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RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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