Water Bill through plumber's fault?

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Hi all, I hope someone can help me!
I moved into my flat (rented) approx 10 months ago. When I moved in, there was a problem with one of the toilets, and we informed the estate agents immediately. They called their own plumber to come and rectify the problem.
Now, 10 months on, I have received a water bill for over £500, as the £36 per month I pay the water company won't cover out new meter reading.
I rung the water company, who said it must definitely be a leak. After determining the leak was on the property, I switched off the water temporarily. Whilst investigating, we noticed the cistern from the broken toilet had completely drained. We have had a plumber acquaintance come out and have a look, and he said that the work originally done to the toilet has led the water to slowly drain from the cistern into the toilet, meaning that the cistern is constantly refilling itself. Due to the silent but steady nature of this problem, it has gone completely undetected.
I spoke to the estate agent this morning, who was quick to deny any fault and refused to absorb any portion of the bill.
Am I being stupid/naive to say that this problem was not something I should have to pay for completely by myself, and that the estate agents/landlord should at least offer to absorb some of the costs for the shoddy work that was initially done by their contracted plumber?
Any help/opinions would be appreciated!
--
chellielou


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Try the UK home repair group. This group is mostly Americans.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Hi all, I hope someone can help me!
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On Wednesday 23 January 2013 20:26 Stormin Mormon wrote in alt.home.repair:

Another DIYBanter user...
Yes - assuming the Op bothers to read this (many diywanker users pose a question, the fuck off never to be seen again).
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I some how remember there was a diy bummer person several weeks ago, who posted a question and never posted again. I remember there were several dozen replies, follow up posts, trolls, etc. This may turn out to be the same pattern.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .

Another DIYBanter user...
Yes - assuming the Op bothers to read this (many diywanker users pose a question, the fuck off never to be seen again).
--
Tim Watts Personal Blog: http://www.dionic.net/tim /

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
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On 1/23/2013 3:26 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Why can't non-americans post here?
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Folks can, and do. But, it's like walking into a auto repair garage, and asking how to sew shut a hole in your clothing. You'll get blank looks, and probably the wrong answers. If well meaning.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Why can't non-americans post here?
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On 1/24/2013 9:34 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

understood...
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On Friday 25 January 2013 02:00 Hench wrote in alt.home.repair:

They can and they do.
But they would do well to state their area if asking legal or regulatory based questions :)
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On Wednesday 23 January 2013 15:20 chellielou wrote in alt.home.repair:

Given you had notified the agents of the problem, I would consider withholding the water bill from your rent - but it might be best to take some legal advice first.
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Hard to imagine that you could go through that much water without noticing that the toilet is constantly refilling. Sometimes water companies will forgive at least part of an exceptional bill if you have a plausible story.... Assuming the story is accurate, a reasonable resolution might be for the water company to forgive some, split the rest 2 ways.
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wrote:

Wouldn't it be fun to be a judge on this case...
I'd say Water Company supplies water and 'might' be held accountable only if the company has a responsibility to alert any user of what seems like "out of the ordinary" consumption. If consumption is within boundaries and loss not caused by them - not culpable.
Estate Agent accepted responsibility for the initial repair and tantamountedly accepted the quality of work done by the subcontractor, in this case the errant plumber, in two ways. First, accepted responsibility for thie initial repair by organizing the repair and second, by supplying a plumber at no charge to the tenant, subsequently paying the plumber for services, and making it the Estate Agent's responsibility to monitor the work done by the plumber. If the landlord wished to avoid culpability, he/she should have allowed tenant to seek repair and negotiate re-imbursement process for those costs. THEN monitoring the workmanship would have become the responsibility of the tenant.
In view of the fact that the tenant had NOT ignored that something was wrong [in fact, had demonstrated the opposite by the initial interaction] but simply had no indication of the leaking water, nor had any other feedback mechanism that he was ignoring as the cost of the wasted water mounted up, it is NOT possible to hold him culpable for the water bill.
Any negotiated settlement other than this would simply alleviate some of the burden to the responsible party, the Estate Agent. If all parties accept such a settlement that's ok, too. But, if I were the judge I'd put the whole blame on the Estate Agent.
Thoughts?
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On Wed, 23 Jan 2013 14:11:44 -0800 (PST), Robert Macy

You make some very good points and I'd agree with you. The water company supplied the product as used by the end user so they should be paid. The tenant acted responsibly and the owner called an expert.
Seems to me, the owner should pay the bill and try to recover from the "expert" that botched the job.
It should be very easy to prove the use was not taking long showers, but a malfunction.
We has a similar situation at work. A little used toilet in a distant bathroom was leaking water. We did get an unusually high water bill and I did not know of any logical reason. Then one day I heard the toilet filling and checked it out. The difference here though, out maintenance guy is more competent than the plumber the OP had. Cost a few hundred bucks in water though.
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On Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:20:47 +0000, chellielou

I'm in the US so I don't know the laws or real estate market on your side of the pond but if it were here, I'd say to first read your lease to see if it covers this. Next, depending on your lease, I'd get the problem/conclusion in writing and submit the copy of it to your landlord for repair. If the landlord refuses to repair, again depending on the lease, consider deducting it from the rent and fix the repair at your cost.
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wrote:

OR go make a claim through the Small Claims court.
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On 01-23-2013 20:57, EXT wrote:

Do those exist in the OP's country?
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On Thursday 24 January 2013 04:40 Wes Groleau wrote in alt.home.repair:

If it is the UK, then yes (with some variations between England, Scotland and Wales since everyones' got some sort of local government now, with the ironic exception of England!).
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On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:20:47 AM UTC-8, chellielou wrote:

Do you get a water bill once every ten months? Is that how the water company bills? I never heard of such a thing. The longest I’ve ever seen a water bill is once every two months.
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On Thursday 24 January 2013 04:01 snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in alt.home.repair:

I was wondering how the bill got to 500 even with a leak.
That's about 150m3 of water at current prices (about a pound per m3 for the water, but they charge you 2 pounds per m3 for sewer charges as the same company often provides both services).
So about 40000 US gallons. Which is, over a year, 100 gallons a day (more if this was a 10 month period - I lost track over that part).
That is no dribble - I'm sure *I'd* notice if that was going down the bog via an internal overflow into the flush pipe.
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On Wed, 23 Jan 2013 20:01:57 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

We just went from twice a year to four times. That is because they raised the rates and figure it would be easier for people to pay smaller amounts each time.
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Once a month, one a quarter, yes. So, how did it go 10 months without the tenent noticing the higher bill until it got to $500? And how could that much water run through the toilet without someone noticing it refilling? I'm with Stormin on this one. Sounds like a troll to me....
To those that blame the plumber, I'd also note that they only say that a plumber came and fixed the toilet, no indication of what was wrong with the toilet at that point. And it wouldn't be the first one I've seen where it was fixed, but later failed to seat correctly at some point.
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