Water charges rebate
We had a longstanding agreement with Thames Water where we collected water charges along with your rent. This meant that you did not have to deal directly with Thames Water as we managed the billing and collection of payments.
A recent court case involving another local authority challenged this arrangement and the administration costs that they received from Thames Water for collecting water charges on their behalf. The court ruled that they had acted as a 'water reseller' and had charged tenants a ‘commission’. As a result of that ruling a decision has been taken by this Council to pay this money back.
Click on the drop downs below to find out more about the water charge rebate.
About the court case
We considered ourselves as an 'agent' working on behalf of Thames Water. Each bill was calculated by Thames Water and we had no say in the amount of money charged. We simply passed the bill on to tenants and collected payment along with the rent. We also received what we considered to be an administration charge. However, the court decided this was a commission.
The court decided that we (and other councils) were a 'water reseller' and not an 'agent'. A water reseller is someone who receives a supply of water from the water company and sells it on to users. Where a landlord (like Kensington and Chelsea Council) is acting as a water reseller, there are laws to stop landlords overcharging tenants.
We did not knowingly overcharge tenants, because we thought we were acting as an agent and not a water reseller. Thames Water calculated each bill and we were only responsible for sending it out and collecting payment.
However, as the court decided that we (and other councils) were a water reseller, this means we mistakenly overcharged tenants by the amount of the commission Thames Water paid us (which we had considered to be an administration charge). It is this commission, plus interest, that we will be crediting to your rent account.
Can I get a rebate?
You will be entitled to a rebate if you were a Kensington and Chelsea Council tenant between April 2006 and August 2017 and were charged for water by the Council. April 2006 is when we entered into the agreement with Thames Water and August 2017 is when we ended the agreement.
If you were in temporary accommodation
You are also entitled to a rebate if your accommodation was provided through Kensington and Chelsea Council and your annual rent included a separate amount for water charges.
Only one rebate will be given because only one water charge was made for each property.
How is the rebate is worked out?
The calculation runs from April 2006 (or the start of a tenancy if that is later) up to August 2017 (or the end of a tenancy if that’s earlier). We will add interest to the rebates up to the date of the payment.
How can I get my rebate?
We will automatically credit current tenants’ rent accounts with the amount of their rebate. We will do this even if you have moved home (for example through Mutual Exchange) during the rebate period but remain a Kensington and Chelsea Council tenant.
The rebate will be posted to your rent account as a credit adjustment. If you have rent arrears, the credit will be used to repay those first. If your account is clear or in credit you may wish to claim the amount back by submitting a refund claim. For more information about how to contact us or how to claim a refund, please refer to the “Enquiries” section below.
Former tenants who are no longer in a Kensington and Chelsea Council property will need to claim their rebate by submitting a refund claim. You can do this by calling us on 0800 137 111or by emailing us on HM-Rentincome2@rbkc.gov.uk.
How this affects your benefits
The rebate will appear as credit on your rent accounts. This should not affect your Housing Benefit in any way.
The rebate will be considered when assessing your total savings for Housing Benefit purposes, only if you claim it as a refund.
When will I receive my rebate?
We will write to you again soon confirming the amount that will be credited to your rent account and the date when you will receive the credit.
- If you would like to contact Housing Management with an enquiry about the water rebates, you can email us on HM-Rentincome2@rbkc.gov.uk, or call our Customer Service Centre on 0800 137 111.
- For all Grenfell Housing Services enquiries, please call 0800 456 1019, or email us on GrenfellHousingServices@rbkc.gov.uk
- If you are a resident of the Lancaster West Estate, Bramley House or Treadgold House, please call 0800 389 2005, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org