Property access rights for water meter readers?

I wonder if anyone knows what access rights water meter readers have to the grounds of properties, in order to take readings? Several times, I’ve been startled to bump into meter readers either entering or leaving our garden, en route to/from the meter, located in a hole in the garden. They simply open our drive gates, if closed, or walk through the gateway if open.

For the avoidance of all doubt, I have absolutely nothing to hide (!), and regularly submit meter readings, unsolicited, to the provider (Veolia in our case).I (obviously) have no objections to them taking the reading (and imagine they have legal rights and responsibilities to do so). What intrigues me is whether or not they can access the grounds of your property at any (reasonable) time for metering purposes, without seeking permission. Our neighbours house opposite is a maison secondaire, is rarely occupied. Interestingly Veolia never try to enter his grounds eg by climbing over a waist high, chained shut gate (health & safety?). I’ve tried searching online for answers, but 99% of the material seems to concern advice to tenants and landlords over access rights to their respective meters/readings.

I assume this is a lesser issue now for electricity readers, given the ubiquity of connected Linky meters.

Any thoughts welcome…

And for water readers, at least for us. Some.e years ago our supplier ‘Sogedo’ installed a widget that allows them to read the meter while driving by.

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Have you checked your Water Contract… it’ll possibly be marked therein… about their rights of access…

Locally, the Water Man does the rounds as and when… we never get advance warning…

With SAUR in my neck of the woods, it depends which operative is doing the rounds. If it’s the chap that’s been here 3-4 times, he knows the meter is a few metres down our driveway and helps himself.

If it’s a new operative (been several years since I saw one), they knock at the door and ask where the meter is.

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Our situation is identical.


They are not supposed to open gates, but if your property is open they have the right of access.

As does any person with judiciary authorisation

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well, just as an aside, when we were guardiens of a holiday rental, the water meter access cover had become overgrown with ronce to the extent that it was impossible to access it safely. The owner received notice that unless he cleared it by a specific date, they would turn the water off.
The meter was definitely on the owners land and accessed over a fence.
He cleared it and there was no issue thereafter.
My guess is as per the comment by @Stella - that the right to access will be implicit if not specifically contained within the contract for the supply you undoubtedly signed before the supply commenced.

My meter is read I think once a year. I used to get notice of an impending reading, which said that if I wouldn’t be around on that day, I could leave the reading on a piece of paper pinned to my front door.

But don’t recall having been given notice for some time now. Think they come into the front garden, read the meter, and then leave, without prior notice.

As we’re in the middle of nowhere, they (our communal supplier) ask me to email the reading to them

@Stella @graham Good suggestion. I checked my contract with Veolia and it says that I must permit access to its agents to read the meter etc. I assume that signing the contract effectively converts that requirement into a right of access, at least in the minds of Veolia.

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We do that and then the meter reader turns up.
Total waste of time and resources.

You’re lucky. Our meter is hundreds of metres away across other folks’ land and on a different road to ours. Guess who liable for leaks between the meter and our house :roll_eyes:

Is there no way your water can be piped along public roads/access… rather than across private land.

We organized that some years ago… cost us about 1700 € if I recall correctly… but well worth it… and reflected in the property price.

It could be a couple of km by road Stella. We are about 600m from a Y junction and I guess the meter is about a km down the other side of the Y. That road is considerably lower than ours (nice views!) but the pipe to our house is an old 6 bar one that needed to be run at that pressure to get any flow at the house. So, of course, we had a couple of leaks. When we were building a new patio beside the house about twelve years ago 8 built a new add-on cave under it and put in a 5,000ltr (I think, it might be larger) tank and turned the pressure at the mains way down to a trickle. Hopefully that will minimise leak risk.

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I have no issue with SAUR coming through the gate to get a reading but unhappy when they leave the gate open and let the dog out (twice).