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Mixed Use Tenants in situ - Large unpaid water bills help!

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Hello everyone,

so I’ve recently bought my first mixed use property, a shop with a flat above it with separate tenants in situ.

Previous elderly landlord has moved to USA, leaving behind unpaid water bills to the tune of around £2500 for water and £1200 for waste water...

Tenants tell me they were being charged 90/10 split by the landlord in favour of the shop which I believe is quite common when there is not a split separately metered water supply. 

Now I’ve been having neighbours and the shop tenant report various “stories” and minor problems about the tenant and her teenage son who are living in the flat. I met the woman on Friday this week for the first time and in the nicest possible way she is very “down to earth” claiming “some” universal credit but also working part time it seems.

The unpaid water Supply of £2500 was being chased by a solicitor, so I contacted the solicitor and informed them that I am the new owner as of 29th June and that previous landlords emigrated as per estate agent comments. 

On Friday the shop tenant hands me the waste water bill for £1200 from Business Stream.  

Now I’m naturally a bit worried about putting all the water in my own name.   Am I allowed to give the flat tenants name to the water companies ? so then she can get back to paying the majority of the water and then for her to claim the 10% from the shop tenant ?  

One of my own landlords who I rent a shop from, told me to just buy my own water meter and branch off the supply within the limits of my New property, but this then also will entail me putting all the water bills into my own name.  What to do ?  


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