Vacant Non-household Property Charges

Scottish Government’s removal of water charge exemption for vacant properties

The Scottish Government made the decision to remove the current water charge exemption for vacant properties from April 2017. This change has come into effect as all properties, including vacant premises, rely on the services provided by Scottish Water (particularly drainage charges).

From 1 April 2017, all non-domestic properties regardless of occupancy status became liable for water, sewerage and drainage charges. This means that it’s the responsibility of a property’s owner, or their appointed landlord, to pay these charges whilst the property is vacant.

What will the charges be?

The charges will include:

  • Fixed water and waste water charges

  • Roads and surface drainage

  • Plus any volumetric charges if the property has a meter.

Drainage charges (and fixed charges for unmetered properties) will be based on the Rateable Value of the property. Fixed charges for metered properties will be based on the size of the meter.

You could make a saving on your water and waste water services bills for your vacant premises.

To find out more, simply get in touch with our team on 0330 123 9528.

Find out more about the changes

Visit the Scottish Government’s website to find out more about the changes

Find out more

Is your property occupied?

Get in touch with us to let us know the occupiers details to ensure you don’t receive any unnecessary bills

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Are you being billed by your landlord?

Simply let us know by clicking the link below

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If you have any questions about the bills you're receiving for a vacant property, you can get in touch here

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Scottish Landlord Portal

A useful portal has been created by the water industry in Scotland which can help you manage the details and occupancy status of your property(ies). By using this, any updates to occupancy status or additional information will be passed automatically to us.

VISIT PORTAL

FAQs

Why are vacant properties now liable for water charges?

The Scottish Government has made the decision to remove the current water charge exemption for vacant properties from April 2017. This change has come into effect as all properties, including vacant premises, rely on the services provided by Scottish Water (particularly drainage charges).

From 1 April 2017, all non-domestic properties regardless of occupancy status became liable for water, sewerage and drainage charges. This means that it’s be the responsibility of a property’s owner, or their appointed landlord, to pay these charges whilst the property is vacant.

What will the charges be for my vacant property(ies)?

The elements of your charges will include a charge for fixed water and waste water; roads and surface drainage plus any volumetric charges (if you have a meter and use any water in the property).

Your drainage charges (and fixed charges for unmetered properties) will be based on the Rateable Value of the property. Fixed charges for metered properties will be based on the size of the meter.

Will condemned or listed buildings continue to be exempt?

No.  All properties connected to public water mains/sewers will be required to pay charges regardless of the condition or listing.

Where can I find information on Business Stream’s charges?

You can download a copy of Business Stream’s charging statement here.

If I move to another Licensed Provider will I still receive these charges?

Yes as the changes have been implemented by the Scottish Government, regardless of who your Licensed Provider is (the company who supplies your water retail services) you will be charged for these services.

Can Vacant Properties be disconnected?

Yes.  Properties can be disconnected from water and wastewater services.  Advice on the costs and processes for disconnection should be sought from Licensed Providers.

All disconnections are permanent and are, in general, only suitable for properties which are expected to be demolished.  If a water supply and/or a sewerage connection is required at some date in the future, the property owner will need to meet the costs of connecting to Scottish Water’s water mains and sewers.

What happens if I don’t pay?

If your property is connected to public water mains and/or sewerage, you are required to pay for services whether or not you use water or flush water down the drains.  As your Licensed Provider, we are required to pursue this debt.

Are there any other changes that are Relevant?

It became mandatory, from the 1 January 2017 for owners/landlords to notify any change of occupancy to their Licensed Provider.  If they do not, they will become jointly and severally liable for any relevant water and sewerage charges with the occupier.

Owners may contact their Licensed Providers directly or use the Landlord Portal to report changes of occupancy.  The Landlord Portal enables owners to track the changes easily for all of the properties that they own.

Will Business Stream need to read my meter for my vacant property?

Yes, if you have a meter installed we’ll schedule to read this twice a year. You can also submit a meter reading online here. It’s important we read this to ensure you’re charged correctly for any volumetric consumption that goes through the meter – however, as the property is vacant this should be minimal.

How often will I receive a bill?

If you’ve signed up to Real Estate Flex or don’t have a meter installed, you’ll receive your bills monthly. If you have a meter installed you’ll receive bills on a quarterly basis.