#ExpertView: Landlord TAP making a splash in simplifying lettings water bills
#ExpertView this week looks at water charges across Wales, and Gareth Williams, Collections Transformation Manager, at Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water), tells us how and why landlords need to let water companies know who their tenants are.
Water is a precious commodity and a basic human need, but it's not free. Landlords can help make sure water companies charge their tenants correctly, and with the launch of Landlord TAP, it’s now more straightforward than ever.
Fresh, clean water doesn’t fall from the sky, rainwater does and making it fit for human consumption, delivering it to homes, and removing and treating sewage takes a lot of effort and resources – therefore it comes at a cost to service users.
For many years water companies have been faced with supplying their services without always knowing who they are providing them too.
In order to alleviate this issue, new legislation was drafted allocating a responsibility on non-occupier owners in making sure relevant water companies knew who they should be billing.
In England, the government decided to encourage a voluntary approach, but in Wales, the Welsh Assembly introduced new legislation from January 2015.
The regulations now put an onus on all landlords whose properties are served by Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) or Dee Valley Water to let them know particular and defined details about their tenants. If they don’t they become jointly and severally liable for the charges.
How did the sector react to new legislation?
In order to support both the voluntary approach in England and the legal requirements in Wales, water companies on either side of the border joined together to form Landlord TAP Ltd, and develop an easy to use Landlordtap website that allows Landlords and Managing Agents to provide details of those responsible for charges.
Instead of having to identify which company or companies you need to tell, and then pick up the phone, or write to them, once a landlord or agent registers online, the website automatically provides the required information. This is then passed to the relevant water company or companies, and you will receive a unique transaction receipt reference for your records.
What features does the website have?
- Add new properties to your portfolio
- Change tenant details, including changes of tenancy
- Report when a property becomes empty
- Notify of a change of ownership or management of a property
Registration is relatively simple. Following registration you will need to add each property within your portfolio, followed by the current tenants’ details. This will take some time to do, and is dependent on the size of the portfolio, but is a one-off exercise. From there on in it is simply a matter of maintaining the accuracy of the information.
Once water companies have the correct information they can raise bills that are accurate and appropriate, engage with customers at the earliest opportunity, discuss payment terms, and offer discounted tariffs where appropriate.
Register now and support the water companies that provide this critical service to us all on the Landlordtap Website.
About the author:
Gareth Williams works for Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) and has worked within the utilities industry for almost 30 years.
He has been described as the leading industry expert on the Non-owner Occupier Regulations 2014 and Landlord TAP.
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