Rateable value explained

  • Rateable values are used by water companies to work out how much to charge people without a water meter. They were used for everyone's bills until 1990. The values were assessed and changed by the Valuation Office of the Inland Revenue and were loosely based on the annual rental value of the property.

  • Rateable values were decided between 1973 and 1990. A number of things were considered by the Valuation Office when deciding annual rental values. These included the size of the property and plot, area, general condition and availability of local services.

    Unfortunately, we have no details of how individual values were calculated and aren't able to work out why similar properties in the same street have slightly different values.

  • The Valuation Office no longer changes rateable values. They cannot be changed by water companies and cannot be appealed by the customer. So any home improvements to a property since 1990 aren't considered. In cases where the rateable value is clearly invalid, for example, if a property is redeveloped and split into flats, the only alternative way to charge is to fit a water meter.

    If you want a water meter, we'll fit one for free. Find out more about meters here.

  • The important thing to remember is that rateable value charging is not related to the actual amount of water you use. The calculation is simply the rateable value multiplied by a charge for each service (water and/or wastewater). Single occupier discount given for council tax doesn't apply to water charges.

  • If you're paying a bill based on rateable value, it might be a good idea to have a water meter fitted free of charge. That way, you're only paying for the water you use.

    Find out if you could save money with a water meter.

    If you'd like to request a water meter, you can either:

    • download our application pack and return this to us in the post; or
    • call us on 0345 672 2888.