Mum slapped with £63k water bill after house leak

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One mum is sharing how she was hit with a staggering water bill of £63,000 which has pushed her into debt.

Chantelle Osman, 26, from Exeter raked up this lump sum due to a leak at her home which she described as a “nightmare”.

While she has been told she will not have to pay the bill, the whole ordeal took months to sort out.

When Ms Osman moved into the property in March 2022, she immediately noticed leaking problems at her property.

By March 2023, the stay-at-home mum was slapped with her first huge water bill of over £22,000.

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In response to this, Ms Osman reached out for financial advice through the Citizens Advice Bureau which contacted South West Water on her behalf.

The organisation confirmed that she would not have to pay but said her housing company would have to repair the damage from the leak.

According to Ms Osman, it took South West Water until Tuesday, September 12 to fix the problem.

By that time, the young mother had already been handed a “shocking” water bill worth £63,500.

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She explained: “I nearly fainted when I saw that amount. They said from the beginning I didn’t have to pay, but it’s taken such a long time to get it fixed.

“I’ve been worrying all the time about my credit rating, and about my flat and my neighbour below me. I didn’t know where the leak was. It’s been an absolute nightmare.”

“I just don’t understand where £63k worth of water has gone. But they said it had been absorbed. I literally nearly had a heart attack when I got the first bill.

“It’s just gone up and up since then and I don’t feel like they’ve treated it as an emergency. The leak could have been anywhere. This hasn’t been my lucky home so far. I hope that changes soon.”

A Stonewater spokesperson said: “We are sorry it has taken so long to get this problem fixed and for the stress and inconvenience this has caused our customer.

“Since the leak was reported to us in June, our contractor has been working at the property to identify the cause of the leak and, after extensive investigation, the leak was fixed on 12 September.

“Stonewater is now working with the water company to resolve the outstanding bill that was caused by the leak. We can confirm that our customer will not be charged for this bill.

“At present, we do not believe there is any structural damage to the property, as the water from the leak appears to have drained into a neighbouring field.

“To confirm this, we are arranging for an engineer to carry out a structural assessment of the property. We will keep our customer updated as we know more.”

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