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Sussex man's shock at £33,000 water bill
A heart-stopping £33,000 bill landed on a tenant’s doormat after a 21.5 million litre water leak.
Enough water to fill more than 60 public swimming pools has leaked from pipes leading to Ryan Bishop’s home.
South East Water realised in June his meter reading was 50 times higher than expected and suspected there was a leak.
Mr Bishop said he told the landlord and the developer of his new home in Westview Close, Peacehaven, but neither fixed the problem - landing the 29-year-old with a five-figure bill.
His landlord said she did not know about the problem until Monday afternoon (January 28), when The Argus called to ask why the leak had not been repaired.
Mr Bishop, who owns a scaffolding company, said: “It was a bit of a shock. I phoned the water company up and they said it wasn’t a mistake.
"There was a leak outside the property and it’s down to me or the landlord to pay.
“When I told them about it six months ago Bovis Homes said it was not their responsibility, even though they built the home and it has a two year guarantee.
'No chance of paying'
“I got in touch with Premier Lets and Sales who I rent with and told them the landlord needed to sort it.
“I just assumed everything was all ok.”
He added: “The water company said they’d help and let me pay in instalments. But I’ve told them I don’t have the money and there’s no chance of me paying.”
The water company fixed the leak on January 15, even though it was on private land, because so much water was being wasted and nothing was being done about it.
A South East Water spokeswoman said since then the utility company has been contacted by the developer to try to resolve the problem.
Steve Andrews, the head of customer and commercial services at South East Water, said: “Despite repeated attempts over the last seven months to get either the customer or developer to resolve a serious leak on private pipework, we were left with little option but to undertake the repair ourselves and send a bill for the wasted water.
“Clearly we’d rather work with customers before it gets to this stage but we were unable to do so in this instance.”
A Bovis Homes spokesman said: "We have no record of any communication regarding this water bill but we will make some enquiries with the home owner, South East Water and our contractors on site now that the issue has been raised with us to find out the full circumstances behind it."
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