Thursday, 7 November 2013

Reader's Letter Of The Day

From The Metro:

YOU don't need to go through the bureaucratic hassle and expense of setting up an Orwellian system for finding non-payers of the water rates (Metro, Tue).

Rather than have landlords put tenants' details on a central database so that water companies can chase them up for payments, simply make the property owner/landlord responsible for paying water bills. He or she then collects the money from the tenants.

This method is cheaper and avoids the totalitarian probabilities that are created by any database.

Richard Hewins, London.


Correct.

It would be a good idea to do this with Council Tax anyway, and the same general logic applies to other things closely related to each home, such as the TV licence and utility bills.

The landlord can round up the rent (and deposit) demanded and average it all out, or he can agree to add on the actual bills received each month to the net rent, that's up to him.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

And if the tenant does a runner owing rent?

Mark Wadsworth said...

That's what the deposit is for!

Bayard said...

I don't get this. If the tenants are responsible for paying the water rates, then their name will be on the bill and the water companies will have their address on a database anyway. All they have to do is pool data with other companies and hey presto, when Mr Smith who has done a runner from Address A owing Company B money, applies for an account with Company C at his new address D, then Company C simply informs Company B and they send the bailiffs round or whatever. If the water bill in in the landlord's name, then presumably he is already responsible for paying it, even if the actual payment is done by the tenant.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, that's a good point. But perhaps there are too many Mr J Smiths kicking around for this to be workable?

paulc156 said...

What about each individual being identified by their national insurance number for such purposes and this information being included in a database by the utilities companies. Obviously foreign nationals would be exempt.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Speaking as someone who does not possess a television set, I would have strong objections to my rent being increased to pay for a TV licence.

Dinero said...

There is a problem there , it would be making the the landlord responsible for expenses amounted by someone else.

Mark Wadsworth said...

P156, too Big Brother database.

BFOD, but what if the BBC were "free" and paid out of general taxation?

Din, there's no problem. What if water were provided "free" and paid for out of general taxation? Does a landlord not have to pay for repairs and damage etc caused by tenants?

Dinero said...

Yes he does, but that is a relationship between him and his tennent , conversley the relationship between the tennant and the water company is morally no more his concirn than the arrangement between tennent and the telephone company. And to put it in context the tennant has allready left.

Mark Wadsworth said...

D, the availability of a water supply is part of what the tenant is paying rent for.

Imagine a water company cuts off the water supply to and sewerage extraction from a certain area, permanently and for ever. What is now the rental value of the homes there?

It is quite different with telephones, especially in these days of mobile phones. That is personal consumption. Yes, rents are probably slightly higher in areas with good mobile reception, but only slightly.

A tenant who uses his mobile for hours every day is hardly likely to be willing to pay more rent than an occasional user.

Bayard said...

"But perhaps there are too many Mr J Smiths kicking around for this to be workable?"

Well, then it's up to the water companies to ask for additional means of identification at point of commencement of supply.

"the availability of a water supply is part of what the tenant is paying rent for."

Indeed, and that is why the bills are called "rates". However an increasing number of households are on a meter, and that is more analogous to a telephone connection.

"Imagine a water company cuts off the water supply to and sewerage extraction from a certain area, permanently and for ever. What is now the rental value of the homes there?"

You don't have to imagine too hard, there are plenty of places in the depths of the country where this is true. In such areas you have your own well and your own septic tank.