How to Get My Water Debt Written Off? Quick Answer
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Table of Contents
- Can I refuse to pay my water bill? Jump
- What happens if you can't pay your water bill? Jump
- Can my water company turn my water off? Jump
- What happens if you ignore the debt collection agency? Jump
- What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)? Jump
- What happens if you ignore a CCJ? Jump
- What to do if you can’t pay your water bill on time Jump
- What is the Watersure Scheme? Jump
- How to reduce your water bills Jump
- How long can a water company chase you for debt? Jump
- Can a water debt be written off? Jump
- Write off backdated water bills Jump
- My free debt help page! Jump
I’m frequently asked how to get different types of debt written off. And water debts is one of the most common I’m quizzed about.
I’ve been asked how to get water debt written off so many times, I thought it best to put my answer online in a quick post. I’m glad you’ve found it!
Can I refuse to pay my water bill?
You can refuse to pay your water bill but this isn’t the best way to deal with water bills and water arrears.
By refusing to pay your water bill, you could end up being taken to court. I’ll be sharing some other ways to deal with water bills when you’re financially struggling to stay afloat.
Do you have to pay?
There are ways to have debt written off in the UK.
If you genuinely can’t afford your debt repayments then looking into whether you could have your payments lowered or written off might be just what you need.
If you want to find out whether you qualify for having debt written off or payments lowered then fill out the short form below.
What happens if you can’t pay your water bill?
Your water company will send you reminder notices when you don’t pay your water bill.
If you still don’t pay, the water company might pass on the account to a debt collection agency, which will then chase you for payment.
There are lots of debt collection companies they could use. For example, they might use Lowell Debt Collection. These companies are not bailiffs and cannot take your possessions. Here is one of many examples of this happening:
Benefit recipients may have some of their bills paid from their payments under a programme called Waterdirect.
Your water debt may also be increased with penalties, fees and interest.
Can my water company turn my water off?
No, by law water companies cannot disconnect your water supply even if you haven’t paid your water bill.
Safe running water is considered a human right, so your water supply won’t be turned off when you don’t pay your water bill.
What happens if you ignore the debt collection agency?
If you ignore the debt collection agency and refuse to pay your water bill arrears, the water company might make a County Court claim for the debt.
They will ask the court to issue you with a court order to make you legally obligated to pay.
Can you lower your repayments?
If you’re struggling to pay back your debt, then you might qualify for a debt solution.
Some solutions lower your monthly payments while others write off a portion of your debt.
To find out whether they could work in your situation, hit the button below.
What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?
A County Court Judgment is the name of the court order that will be issued to make you obligated to pay your water bill arrears.
The judge will issue a CCJ forthwith or CCJ by instalments. The CCJ forthwith makes you pay all the debt in one repayment, whereas the CCJ by instalments allows you to spread repayments over many weeks or months.
What happens if you ignore a CCJ?
If you don’t pay a CCJ as instructed, the water company can ask the court for permission to enforce the debt. They could ask to:
- Use bailiffs to collect payment or take your valuables, which will then be sold to raise money to clear the debt.
- Have money taken from your wages, state benefits or state pension.
- Have a Charging Order placed on a property you own, which would prevent you from selling the property without first repaying the debt.
What to do if you can’t pay your water bill on time
If you won’t be able to pay your water bill in full or on time you should let the water company know as early as possible. Most water suppliers are able to help people through difficult periods and avoid the use of debt collection agencies and court action.
Keeping communication open and honest can really work in your favour. The company may reduce your payments and allow you to pay them back in the future over many months.
You can get a good idea about how your water company will handle this situation by reading their code of practice, which is usually available through their website.
You might also be able to get help by using the WaterSure Scheme.
What is the Watersure Scheme?
The Watersure Scheme is a scheme that helps people with their water bills by capping how much they have to pay and allowing them to pay less if they use less water than the capped billing amount.
It’s available to people who receive some state benefits but need to use a lot of water because of a medical condition or due to young children living at the property.
The Watersure Scheme is a great way to reduce water bills for some people, but there are other ways as well…
How to reduce your water bills
You don’t get to choose your water supplier as they’re the supplier for the area you live in. But some water companies do have different tariffs that they can put you on based on your individual circumstances, and not enough people know about them.
You can call your water supplier and ask if they have any cheaper water tariffs for people on benefits or in your situation. This alone could save you a lot of money each year, if available.
The only other way to reduce your water bill is to reduce your water consumption. Most water companies provide help to do this, but they mainly cover things like:
- Spend less time in the shower.
- Fill the sink rather than letting the water run
- Add a smart metre to help you monitor water consumption
How long can a water company chase you for debt?
Water companies can only chase you for water bill arrears until the debt becomes statute barred under The Limitations Act and you’ve told the company you won’t be paying.
I know what you’re thinking. What does that mean?
The law states that some debts can only be enforced in court for so many years. After this time, the court won’t entertain any claims for the debt and the debtor can never be legally made to pay. Instead, the debtor can then tell the company they won’t be paying and the matter ends.
Water bills in England and Wales become statute-barred after six years, provided that:
- The debt hasn’t already been subject to a CCJ
- The debt hasn’t been acknowledged in writing in the last six years
- The debtor hasn’t made any contribution towards the debt in the last six years
If a debtor acknowledges or contributes to the debt, the six-year time limit restarts. In Scotland the situation is even better, The time limit is five years and the debt automatically no longer exists afterwards.
Can a water debt be written off?
Yes, there are ways in which your water debt could be partially or fully written off.
How to get your water debt written off
You might be able to get all your water debt written off by:
- Asking the water company to write off the debt because of your financial situation
- Using the statute-barred loophole as discussed above
- Using a Debt Relief Order to stop all communication for one year and write off all your debt if your situation hasn’t improved
How to get your water debt partially written off
You might be able to get some of your water bill arrears written off by:
- Asking the water company to wipe some of the water debt due to your situation
- Using an Individual Voluntary Arrangement
- Applying for bankruptcy
Write off backdated water bills
You might have received a new water bill for a water supply that occurred many months or even years ago. This is more common if the water company didn’t realise significant changes had occurred at the property. For example, one property might have been split into two properties or more.
In these cases, Citizens Advice recommends trying to come to an agreement with the water company due to the unusual situation. They even say you can try to arrange a repayment plan and even ask to have some of the debt written off.
Although, water companies don’t have to agree to this!
“It will only get worse” 😩
It’s cliché to say, but with debt it’s true; the longer you leave it, the worse the problem gets.
There are straightforward and effective ways to deal with debt, but you have to know your options.
Fill out the short form to find out about the debt solutions that could reduce your monthly payments or even write off some of your debt.
My free debt help page!
My debt help page is free for you to read and help you deal with your (water) debts. But I also recommend you get personalised debt advice, which is also available for free from debt charities like StepChange and National Debtline.