Water leak law is also for French second homes

A law limiting large water bills due to leaks can apply whether or not the property was occupied at the time.

1 May 2019
By Connexion journalist

The clarification, which will come as good news to owners of holiday/second homes, was in a recent answer from the Ecology Minister to an MP.

Under this law, as soon as a water supplier notices a sudden, unexpected increase in the volume of water used by a household, it must inform the owner as soon as possible.

The likely cause of the increase would be a leaking pipe on the property.

If the householder then carries out necessary repair work within a month, they will not have to pay the full invoice for water lost to the leak.

Liability is limited to a max-imum of twice the average consumption for the property over the period.

To avoid the full bill, the householder must submit, by registered letter, a certificate from a plumber indicating that the leak has been located and repaired within a month of being notified of the increased consumption.

You can find a template letter at tinyurl.com/yypo4gte.

If no leak is discovered, you should ask, also within one month of notification, for the firm to check the meter (compteur). If a problem is found, you will not pay the additional part of the bill.

If no problem is found, you have to pay the bill, plus a charge for the checks.

Partly thanks to these laws, consumer associations have often advised against assurance fuite d’eau – water leak insurance – which is included as an option in many home insurance contracts. It partly pays for the extra water bill, plus having a plumber do repairs.

It is not obligatory and not having it can save around €70/year. Consumer associations claim it is unlikely to be good value for money. They say there are often exclusions in the fine print which make reimbursement difficult.

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