water bill problem cont.
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water bill problem cont. (by David [MI]) Mar 24, 2019 1:02 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by WMH [NC]) Mar 24, 2019 1:30 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by RB [MI]) Mar 24, 2019 1:55 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by Robert J [CA]) Mar 24, 2019 2:16 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by Robin [WI]) Mar 24, 2019 3:22 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by Vee [OH]) Mar 24, 2019 3:35 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by cjl [NY]) Mar 24, 2019 4:24 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by John... [MI]) Mar 24, 2019 8:24 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by David [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 5:49 AM
       water bill problem cont. (by Busy [WI]) Mar 25, 2019 7:33 AM
       water bill problem cont. (by David [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 12:54 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 1:58 PM
       water bill problem cont. (by Busy [WI]) Mar 25, 2019 2:28 PM

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water bill problem cont. (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 1:02 PM

I previously posted about how to get tenants to pay their water bill, as it is billed to the property. The main consequence for the LL is that around april or may, the unpaid amount from the previous year gets put on the tax bill plus some fee.

as paying hundreds of dollars going to court is counterproductive, I made a couple tweaks, in addition to requiring tenants to pay the water bill balance before they can renewing.

For tenants that accumulate a large balance, I move their lease expiration date to May , (normally it could be June, July or August) to get ahead of the deadline to pay the previous year balance. In addition, I increase their rent.


water bill problem cont. (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 1:30 PM

The bill is in my name but it gets sent directly to the tenant and the town is quick to shut you off if you don't pay. So if their water gets shut off, it's on them and that is spelled out in the lease. *I* don't shut the water off, the TOWN does. --50.82.xxx.xx

water bill problem cont. (by RB [MI]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 1:55 PM

Collect a Water deposit. --184.53.x.xx

water bill problem cont. (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 2:16 PM

In Los Angeles, the Water Utility (owned by the City) got permission to spend 54 million to update their computer system. Two years later the system was even worse off. They didn't send out bills to new customers, instead billed everyone else for the losses. When the City Counsel asked the head of the utility how much they spent to fix the system, he didn't know. His secretary said, "I know", about 152 million and it's still broken.

Since bribes were paid by the computer company to city officials, no one is going to make the computer company keep to the contract!


water bill problem cont. (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 3:22 PM

I collect anywhere from $70-$100 additional with each monthly rent payment, depending on the family size. Then I pay the water bill myself. If the bill exceeds what I've collected, I bill them for the additional. That way the water bill gets paid on time but the tenant is still responsible for the amount of water used. --204.210.xxx.xxx

water bill problem cont. (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 3:35 PM

In my areas you can not collect a deposit for a utility you do not provide, so we make copies and add to next rent cycle, it is clearly in the lease to be handled this way and the court assistant staff recommends not having the tenant get the water bill cause the owner is ultimately responsible to pay the water/sewer bill, when it is written into the lease it becomes rent and it will vary which 3 of the subsidy offices will not participate with so I based on court ruled I am unable to accept sec8 clients from the big 3 in my area, they have effectively discriminated against themselves.


water bill problem cont. (by cjl [NY]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 4:24 PM

Very similar to what use to happen here. Finally the water company copies the owner when the tenant doesn't actually pay the bill instead of waiting a year and tacking it on their taxes (or shutting it off). Apparently now they don't want to "shut it off" they'd rather tack it onto the taxes.

We are moving (very slowly) to a monthly billing system - currently it's quarterly. Monthly, it would at least allow the owner to know if there is a problem (running water, etc) instead of getting a bill on the 4th month. --69.201.xx.xxx

water bill problem cont. (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 8:24 PM

In my area, the water bill is the only utility where a lien can be placed against your property for non-payment. Therefore, I'd never put it in my tenant's name. I've upped the rent to more than cover it and include it in the rent (and keep it in my name).

I think anyone putting anything in a tenant's name that can become a lien against YOUR property when they don't pay it is crazy.

- John...


water bill problem cont. (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:49 AM

John, it doesn't make any difference legally whose name I put it in. I put it in the tenants name so they get a bill addressed to them. most of the time it works to reinforce that it's their responsibility. The good tenants will psychologically feel a responsibility to a bill in their name.

I still get a copy of that bill to my mailing address and know what the balance. forcing those who fail to pay is trickier. --144.250.xx.xx

water bill problem cont. (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 7:33 AM

John, when I purchased a house the periodic tenancy included water. Hose outside was frequently left running, there were drips at all faucets. Large pool in backyard. I fixed all of the drips, spoke to the tenant about the pool, and in time switched the water bill to tenantís name. Water usage, in particular, letting the hose run, letting the kitchen faucet run while washing dishes all stopped. Water usage at that property dropped to half of what it was. Tenant has been learning (from me) about financial responsibility, environmental responsibility.

No way, certainly, one example is in no way indicative of the way most people behave. OTOH, it is often said, we value what we pay for. One of those generalizations that we hear frequently.

David, what I have done is, I monitor my tenantís payments, and if water bill isnít paid, I give a text reminder. Usually, that does the trick. For one tenant, when it was coming up upon time where city would put bill on property taxes, I told tenant I would pay the bill, and they would pay me back, with the same ten percent origination fee that the city charges, my 18% interest rate is slightly lower than city charges, because city compounds the interest. That one tenant has been paying the water bill off in small monthly payments, almost caught up. A different tenant was more combative over the water bill, but did get it paid before it went on my taxes, but had so many other things going on that they were given Notice to Vacate soon after. When they left, the toilet was running, and that may have been on purpose. So, I feel ya! Itís tricky to get some to comply.

John, back to the issue ( or problem? ) of whether a landlord is crazy to put bill in tenantís name, I do see tenantís pay attention to water usage because they see how it affects the bill. The OTHER reason I want that bill in tenantís name, so tenantís are reading it: my city has taken to putting all sorts of additional fees/ taxes on the water bill. My belief is the city council does this because many, many property owners ( landlords) live in surrounding counties, therefore cannot vote against city council members, whilst the residents of the city who vote may be completely unaware of all of these extra fees and taxes. I want as many voters as possible to see all of these extra fees and taxes. I donít mind paying some fees and taxes, but my city has really been piling them on, and not running efficiently. I want the people who can vote to see as much as they can, also want those using/ wasting the water to be aware of the usage.

Finally, John, I think I am helping prepare some of my tenants to be home owners by putting some things in their hands. I have had many tenants ask questions about how to conserve water, AND, a big one for me, is tenants will quickly report any leaks to me. They donít want to pay higher bills! So, I find out much sooner than just the quarterly inspections when the faucet cartridge is leaking; that saves rot in my cabinets.

David, I wish I had a better solution to offer, but, I am with you on putting a bill that is based upon usage in the userís name, so they can get that feedback about their usage/ waste habits. --70.92.xxx.xxx

water bill problem cont. (by David [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 12:54 PM

And now one of the tenants (two adults) tells me their water meter is not working correctly and their usage is recorded as too high. Except their measured usage is EXACTLY the same as the previous tenants (two adults as well), and well within line with other houses.

unbelievable --144.250.xx.xx

water bill problem cont. (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 1:58 PM

Busy: I get why most bills are in the tenant's name. I still maintain that doing that for something that you cannot easily monitor that could lead to a lien on your property is a bad idea.

Electric is on them. Natural gas is on them. Trash is on them. They have plenty of bills in their name to "prepare some of my tenants to be home owners."

This is strictly about the fact that, in MY area, I can't monitor their payment status for the water bill and if they don't pay it, I suddenly have an unknown lien against my property.

Note that, in David's case, he apparently gets a copy of the bill and can check that they paid it? That option is not available here. We've tried repeatedly. They refuse to do it. It's insane. So, for us, any bill that can magically become a lien against my property without me knowing anything about it until it is too late will stay in my name.

- John...


water bill problem cont. (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 2:28 PM

Yikes! John, that is awful that your municipality wouldnít want you to be a partner in getting the bill paid(well, until itís too late to get it from tenant.) In my city, I have to go online and look it up by Iíd number. So, I do have to make sure I record that ID number in a handy file folder so I can look it up periodically. Used to be we could look up by property address, but, now, only with the ID.

Iíll admit I havenít looked all of mine up yet this billing cycle. Need to get on that. Iíll agree, if my city did as yours does John, it would be crazy to have the bill in tenantís name. No one needs a surprise like that! Hopefully your municipality can be persuaded that it is better for the water department to have the person using the water pay for it so they are conscious of waste, yet allow the property owner to help coax compliance in payment. I also want to look at the water bill periodically to see if I need to get the red food color out and test my toilet tanks for ghost flushing. --172.58.xxx.xxx

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