Notification of Occupancy – Business Users – Water and Sewerage (from 1 January 2017)
Regulations are coming into force on 1st January 2017 that require business property owners to inform their licenced water or sewerage provider of any change of occupancy of that property. Any failure to notify will result in the owner becoming jointly and severally liable with the occupier for relevant charges. This will obviously impact on landlords of business properties and they will require to make the appropriate notification when there is any change of tenant or the property becomes vacant.
The Water Resources (Scotland) Act 2013 (Commencement Number 4) Order 2016 brings into force, from 1st January 2017, Sections 20C and 20D of the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.
Section 20C of the 2005 Act requires the owner of the property, to which water or sewerage services are provided, to give information to the provider if there is any change in occupancy.
Section 20D of the 2005 Act provides that if the owner fails without reasonable excuse to advise the provider of a change of occupancy, the owner will become jointly and severally liable with the new occupier for the relevant charges.
A list of the current licenced providers can be found at:-
Finally, the Scottish Ministers may make further regulations regarding timing and procedure as to when joint liability arises and other related aspects of the provision of information.
Business owners and landlords should take note of these new requirements when occupancy of their properties change by virtue of a lease, renunciation (surrender), irritancy (forfeiture) or otherwise and should notify their licenced providers accordingly.
Stuart D M King
Director - Commercial Property