The best place to start is to define the physical configuration of the pipes for leased premises that do not have a direct water or sewerage connection provided by Scottish Water. Below is a diagram which illustrates the Water and Sewerage Connections. There are a number of cases to consider.
- The first question is where do the pipes from Scottish Water actually go?. The answer is to the Landlords "Facilities" viz toilets and or kitchen areas. This is shown as "Landlord's Facilities for Tenants" in the diagram below.
- The next questions relate to the rooms [or premises] that the tenants actually lease. There are two cases:
- One is simply where there are not any connections at all. This is shown as "Tenant using Landlord's Facility".
- The second [very rare case] is where there is pipework belonging to the land lord which goes to the tenant's room. This is shown as "Tenant using Landlord's Supply".
The 2005 Water Act
There are a number of relevant laws, but the key one is the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005. Section 27 defines whether or not a "premises" is "eligible" to pay water charges, and is shown in the picture below [which was "captured" from a web browser].
It reads as follows:
“eligible premises” means:
(a)in relation to the supply of water, premises which are connected to the public water supply system; and
(b)in relation to the provision of sewerage or the disposal of sewage, premises which are connected to the public sewerage system
This is clear and unambiguous. No water supply: No Water Charges; and No sewer connection: No Sewerage Charges.
Rules for raising Water Charges
On the matter of how charges are to be raised, there is a ministerial direction.
This says unequivocally that water charges are to be raised on the volume of water consumed, although this might have to be estimated in the absence of a meter. The implications of this order are as follows:
- No fixed charges, and
- No charges based on "rateable values".
- There exists a water supply pipe to which a water meter can be attached.
Amended 1st May 2018. It used to be can be found at:
However, this now forwards to https://beta.gov.scot/policies/water/ which is not the same thing at all.
And as before, here is a screen shot of it. [And thank heavens we placed no trust in the Scottish Government ... 20180501], biut PLEASE see the Note at the end of this article.
It is reasonable to assume from the above stautory information that a premises with neither a water supply nor a sewer connection is NOT an eligible premises, and thus the non-domestic party occupying it should not be subjected to harassment nor vexacious litigation concerning water charges.
Following an exchange of emails regarding the "lost" directions, we were advised that "The Wayback Machine" had captured some previous editions of the Scottish Government web site. As at 7th Septemeber 2018, some 8 captures had been made, of which 6 are presented below:
These screen shots are referred to in the article Water Charges - Definitions & Cases Reviewed.
The actual source code for the Ministerial Direction in pdf format above is here. The data schema is published as the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. It is important to be able to validate any data taken from the Internet. The source code provides the validation.