Section 64 of the water Industry Act. Allows a water company to require that a new supply is installed if a property has been sub divided. The section is being misused to force Landlords of small divided properties to install new supply pipes and water meters where these are not necessary and to raise infrastructure charges on the pretence that there is an increase in demand where there is no increase in the number of people able to inhabit a property that had been subdivided and therefore no increase in demand. This part of the act has been badly written and there are further explanitory notes advising that water companies may not use the section to force the installation of meters on existing pipes. This is exactly what is happening.

An amendment is needed to state that, while a water company may  require a new service pipe to be laid where a property is sub divided, there must be clear evidence of  a higher occupation rate, or potential occupation rate, of the divided property before the water company may serve notice of the requirement.

Why is this idea important?

This Idea is important for Several reasons. Firstly: Some water companies are abusing the provisions made in the act to profit from it.. The act was intended to provide for increase in population and the extra demand cause by sub-division of large plots of land or very large buildings to provide a great number of homes for a larger number of people.

Secondly: Some properties, when sub-divided, make much needed smaller homes for individuals or small families (while actualy reducing the number of people able to inhabit the building). This is actually beneficial to some areas where larger houses would remain unlet and helps with the provision of housing at a reasonable rent. The water charges for the property are usualy paid by the landlord and the rent takes these charges into account.

Thirdly: when water companies require a new service pipe to be laid a Landlord has to bear the cost of the new pipes and the work involved. In addition there are infrastrucure charges that the water company is allowed to levy when the new service pipe is required to be laid, even though the number of people who occupy or may legaly occupy the building is fewer than prior to the sub-division. As many of the houses so sub-divided are owned by small landlords many owning just one property to provide an income for retirement from active employment this is  a strain on finances and may result in properties falling into disrepair and a subsequent detrement to tenants and future tenancies, adding to the strain of the housing shortage.

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