L&Q to issue refunds for residents who overpaid Thames Water charges

Published on 13/12/2021

L&Q will be refunding residents who overpaid water charges as part of an historic agreement with Thames Water that the housing association inherited.


In the early 2000s, along with many other social housing providers, L&Q acquired a number of homes previously managed by local authorities.

As part of this, they inherited agreements between the local authorities and Thames Water, which required L&Q to collect water and sewage charges on behalf of Thames Water, from unmetered residents.

Thames Water calculated each bill, and L&Q passed the bill on to tenants and collected payment along with rent. Thames Water allowed L&Q a discount for empty properties and paid them a small commission for the costs of collection and the risk of debt where bills were unpaid.

Because the benefit of the commission and empty property discounts received by L&Q was not passed onto residents in the form of lower water charges, residents paid the same as if they had paid Thames Water directly. This was standard practice across social housing providers at the time.

The agreements, which were inherited as part of seven separate stock transfers, in which different local authorities transferred homes to L&Q, ended in September 2019.

L&Q has decided to refund the current and former residents who overpaid during this period, with interest. To ensure all tenants will benefit, they will contact all 8,500 current residents owed a refund in early 2022 to let them know how much they are owed and how this will be refunded. The affected schemes are in the following boroughs:

  • Lewisham
  • Waltham Forest
  • Enfield
  • Bexley

For former residents, details on how to contact L&Q to claim a refund if you’re eligible will be published in early 2022.