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Bill responsibility

If you live in a property in our supply area, you're responsible for paying water charges. This includes all adult tenants in rented properties, unless the landlord tells us otherwise. View our charges scheme for more information. 

Even if the property is empty or vacant, you’ll need to have an account with us.

How we identify who to charge

We’ll send a letter addressed to “the occupier” if:

  • No-one has opened an account for a property
  • The previous resident can’t give us the name of the new one

We'll make contact at least twice, sending letters and a form to help you set up an account. 

If we don't hear from you within 14 days, we use credit reference agencies (CRAs). They'll run a check to find anyone with a ‘credit footprint’ at the property. This is usually a paid bill or service registered in someone’s name, at that address, which indicates they live there. Find out more about how we collect personal data.

Once we’ve got your details, we’ll set up your account for you and start billing. The best way to manage your bills and payments is with an online account.

Register your account

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If you don't think you're responsible for the bill

If we’ve sent you a bill or opened an account in your name and you don’t think you’re liable for it, don’t worry, we can sort this out.

We'll need you to prove that you were living elsewhere during the dates covered in the bill. Please get in touch on 0800 980 8800 and have one of the following items to hand: 

  • Bank or credit card statement
  • Council Tax bill
  • Utilities bill
  • UK driving licence (dated during billing period)
  • Letter from HMRC, payslips, P60 or insurance certificate featuring an alternate address

Please note, this must cover the dates in question or your bill won’t be cancelled.

We can’t accept tenancy agreements as proof of where you live.

If you know who should be responsible for the bill, let us know by calling 0800 980 8800.

What happens if you don't pay your bill

Don't ignore letters or bills – we can help.

If you don't pay a bill addressed to you or provide proof that you’re not liable for the bill, you'll fall into arrears. This will affect your credit rating. You may struggle to make financial arrangements, like borrow money or rent a home, in the future.

We can help you with:


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Financial support

If you’re struggling to pay, there’s lots of ways we can help. Give us a call on 0800 980 8800 and we can discuss the best next steps for you.

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If someone has passed away, we can help you sort out their account and bills. View our help with a bereavement page to find out more.
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Billing errors

If we started billing you before you moved in, let us know the correct date you moved by calling us on 0800 980 8800.

Landlord and tenant disputes

The person using the supply is legally responsible for the bill. This means the tenant is responsible unless the landlord accepts liability.

In some rented properties, tenants may have arranged to include water bills in their rent. If so, the landlord needs to write to us to accept liability before we will cancel the account. It’s the tenant’s responsibility to get their landlord to contact us.

Landlords should write to: Thames Water, Clearwater Court, Vastern Road, Reading RG1 8DB. Please note, we don't accept tenancy agreements as proof of liability.

Houses of multiple occupation (HMO)

If you're a tenant in a licenced HMO, then the landlord is responsible for paying the water bill.

If the HMO is unlicenced, tenants are responsible for water charges unless the landlord accepts liability. Find out more about HMOs.

Empty or vacant properties

We rely on you to let us know if you're using our water supply, even if the property is empty or vacant.

Furnished properties and renovations under the cost of £100,000 must have an account. Your bill will be payable as normal. 

If your property is unfurnished, contact us on 0800 980 8800 for further information.

For renovations over the cost of £100,000, contact us on 0800 009 3921 for further information.

Why we need to know the account holder

Our region is classed as seriously water-stressed. Under the Water Industry Act 1991, we have legal powers to step in to save water.

It’s important that we know who the account holder is for each property in our supply area. This way, we know who to contact to ensure the supply is secure and water isn’t being lost through leaks.