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Possession orders adjourned in Southwark Council’s water bill fiasco

Southwark Council has begun contacting 40,000 tenants to whom it will refund £28.6m for overcharged water bills between 2001 and 2013.

Fifty-three possession orders have been adjourned for properties whose tenant had fallen into water-bill arrears.

The urgent measures to refund current and former tenants has been the fallout of a legal challenge brought by Camberwell resident Kim Jones, which the council lost in April.

It was ruled by His Honour, Mr Justice Newey, that a long-standing deal between the council and Thames Water had been illegal. This was because the council had been overcharging residents for water bills, while collecting payments on Thames Water’s behalf.

The authority will now find £28.6m to refund tenants who were billed for water services between April 1, 2001, and July 28, 2013.

The council has also said a letter has been sent to the Judiciary at Lambeth County Court outlining the case, and its implications to the council’s possession proceedings.

Figures for the largest-possible refunds have also been published. For example the maximum refund for someone who was the bill payer of a three-bed flat for the entire twelve years will be entitled to up to £1,878.50.

The council’s cabinet member for housing, councillor Stephanie Cryan, said: “I am pleased with the progress we have made in issuing refunds to our tenants and ask for patience while the process completes. We will be dealing with each of the 53 currently adjourned possession orders on a case-by-case basis.”


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