Are rental properties obliged to provide a drinkable water source?

(8 Posts)
DraenorQueen Sun 10-Jul-16 16:50:45

I've just moved out of a house which did not have a drinkable water source. The water that came through the taps from a spring in a nearby field; not the mains, and it was contaminated and therefore undrinkable. (It was officially declared contaminated, they had official people come and test it and the results were sent to us tenants.)

Nobody told me this, naturally, when I signed my contract - in fact I only found out the water source was contaminated after a month of being there and drinking the damn stuff!!

Now that I'm out, they've put the property back on the market (with nice rent increase!) but there's no mention of the undrinkable water. Just wondering if this is legal. This is a rural estate cottage which is one of many owned by an aristocratic family. IME rural landlords are a bloody nightmare when it comes to maintaining properties but this is just taking the piss.

I have a feeling they will quibble over my deposit so I'm trying to get fully informed. I've also taken pictures of the horrendous damp patches they have failed to sort. Any advice is welcome thanks!

LockedOutOfMN Sun 10-Jul-16 16:52:22

I don't think they do have to provide drinking water, but it was not on for you to be there drinking the tap water for a month; they should have had it properly tested before giving you a contract to sign and taking your money.

borntobequiet Sun 10-Jul-16 17:02:54

I had to install a water purifier earlier this year as my water comes from a spring. All those living here were informed by the local authority that if we did not install purifiers, the source would be condemned and we would not be able to use it. I believe it was due to an EU directive that came into force fairly recently, if this is true, your ex-landlords could face a hefty fine if they do not treat the water their tenants are using.
I have no issues with the EU over this, rather I think it a good thing that all dwellings should have access to safe drinking water (even though it cost me a lot of money).

museumum Sun 10-Jul-16 17:13:51

Ive stayed in b&bs with spring water rather than mains and even when it's certified they still have to inform guests that it's at their own risk.

DraenorQueen Sun 10-Jul-16 17:17:59

Thanks all, that's really helpful. Born that's interesting and I'll definitely look into that ASAP. I have no issue with drinking spring water, but just not water that's been tested and found to be contaminated (their word.) I'm just imagining dead sheep or similar floating around in the spring... sad

borntobequiet Sun 10-Jul-16 18:45:52

There's contaminated and contaminated...we were OK re E.Coli but tested positive for coliform bacteria, enough to trigger a requirement to purify. The source of contamination was probably animal faeces...spring is on a hill where animals are pastured. No one here had ever had a problem! However I'm now reassured when my grandchildren come to stay...

shalomjaxom Sun 10-Jul-16 19:20:09

If a water supply comes from a spring, the landlord is legally obliged to test the source once a year. In addition to this, the spring chamber has to be fenced off to stop livestock from contaminating the water.

I will second the comment about rural landlords of country estates! I have plenty of experience with this!
The good thing about it is that the houses are usually mortgage free and the landlords usually want very long term tenants.

I know of a privately owned home where the owners and their kids were constantly getting stomach aches and food poisoning for a few years. The young kids were failing to thrive for that reason. It was only when they tested their water supply did they realise that was the cause of their illnesses!

wowfudge Sun 10-Jul-16 19:34:10

Is it not a basic human right in a developed country to have a supply of drinking water? Water boards cannot just switch off the water supply to domestic properties for this reason, i.e. for non-payment of water rates. Therefore it follows that a private water source of the sort you describe must either be purified in order to be drinkable - that could mean it has to be boiled before use - or the landlord must supply another source of drinking water.

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