Residential landlords could be made liable for unpaid water bills left by departing tenants under a government review of water charges.

Landlords described the proposal, which has been submitted to the forthcoming Walker review on the social, economic and environmental aspects of water charging, as an “alarming prospect”. They said that it would push up rents.

The proposal comes amid plunging profits and rising bad debts at quoted water companies. Yesterday Northumbrian Water reported a 10.3% fall in pre-tax profits to £152.7m for the year to 31 March. This was slightly ahead of analysts’ forecasts of £150.7m.

The Times