Where a property is provided water by a supplier who operates “wholly or mainly in Wales”, certain notifications to the supplier about a new tenancy are required. The water authorities are Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water. The legislation does not affect properties covered by other water providers but does mean some properties in the England counties of Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire supplied by those two providers are caught. Despite Seven Trent Water supplying water to some properties in Wales, those properties are NOT caught by the legislation (because they do not supply water wholly or mainly in Wales).
The owner of the property (or their agent) must supply the following information about any adult occupiers (including persons not named on the tenancy agreement but not children under age 18):
Their full names;
Their dates of birth (where such information has been provided to the owner); the date or dates on which the occupiers began to occupy the premises (if that date is after 1 January 2015).
It is important to clarify that the duty relates to all “occupiers” except lodgers. It does not matter what type of tenancy or licence they may have. Nor does it matter whether it is the occupiers only or principal home or not.
The information can be provided by any of the following methods:
The information must be provided within 21 days of the date on which an occupier begins to occupy the premises. For existing occupiers as at 1 January 2015, the information must have been provided within 21 days of commencement (so by 21 January 2015).
A failure to provide the information will result in the owner of the property becoming jointly and severally liable for the occupiers water charges. However, where the information is provided within 21 days, the owner will not be liable for any of the water charges.
If the information is provided late (after 21 days), the owners joint and several liability will continue until the information is provided and will only cease from the point of providing the information onwards.
The occupier must be notified that the information will be provided before an owner gives the information to the water authority. A suitable application for accommodation form notifying the tenant that the information will be used in that way is the easiest way of complying with that requirement.