City Corporation tenants will get water bills refund

Eligible tenants of City of London Corporation housing estates will get a refund of money they paid for their water bills.

The decision by the Square Mile governing body’s Policy and Resources Committee follows a court ruling in relation to an arrangement other local authorities had with Thames Water. 

Like many authorities, the City Corporation received a discount or ‘commission’ from Thames Water for sending out bills, which were calculated by the water company, to its tenants and collecting payment.

It will go beyond its six-year statutory duty and pay back the commission, plus interest, to tenants and former tenants from 2005 to 2019, when the agreement ended.

The City Corporation will also consider valid claims dating back to 2001, when its billing arrangement with Thames Water began.

City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness said:

“We respect the judgement of the courts in related cases and believe the right thing to do is to take the initiative, as other local authorities have, and make a refund.

“It’s important to stress that residents did not pay any more for their water than if Thames Water had billed them directly.

“All the money obtained through the commission from Thames Water was ploughed back into maintaining and improving our housing estates, to the benefit of all our tenants.”

The City Corporation decision follows a Court of Appeal ruling in October 2020 upholding a judgement that Kingston Council had breached the Water Resale Orders 2001 and 2006 by failing to pass on discounts to tenants.

Details on how payments will be made and how to claim refunds will be added to the City of London Corporation’s website. 

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk