BRRRR'ing a duplex - water meter issue

4 Replies

We are BRRRR'ing our first duplex and ran into an issue with the water meter. Essentially the line was leaking between our gauge and the water meter, and we had to call Citizens here in Indianapolis to shut it off. However, when they came out to do so, they stated that because it was a duplex with two addresses (it sits on a corner lot, with one door facing each street), it needed to have two water meters. In addition, we would need to dig a meter pit (the current water meter is in the basement) and replace the 3/4" pipe with a 1" pipe to the curb stop.

We thought we would be able to just have the one meter and include water as part of the rent, but it doesn't appear as if Citizens will allow this. In addition, they are refusing to turn the water back on until we get this replaced.

My questions are:

1) Are they allowed to refuse to turn the water back on?

2) Has anyone ever had insurance cover part of this (because a portion of the damage from the water leaking in the basement was within the walls?

3) Is there a way to get around installing a second meter and continue to use the one with the 3/4" pipes?

I am highly uneducated when it comes to our rights as homeowners when it comes to utilities. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I know next to nothing about Citizens, or Indianapolis, or Indiana...But it sounds like they are the utility provider and you have to play by their rules in order for them to provide service. In the long run, it may even be a smart investment to split the water meters - one less utility for you to pay, and it makes the property more attractive to investors when you exit. 

Your insurance will most likely cover the damage from the leak, but not the cost of correcting the source of the leak.

@Brittney Knies we've managed several hundred homes in Indianapolis and many of them are small multi's on one meter. I've never heard of Citizens mandating separate utilities... although the only corner multi with addresses on two streets has 2 water meters. Secondly, we have several buildings with the meters in the basement. Yes, I believe that if you were to add a meter, you would have to install a meter pit and update the line. In my experience, Citizens can be very inconsistent. I would give them a call and talk to another person if possible.

Insurance can be inconsistent too, but they should at least cover the water damage as Jeff mentioned above. I'm currently getting an estimate for exterior and roof damage from the last storm a couple of weeks ago and planning on pushing the insurance on that as well. We just spent a ton of money updating that unit last year. Insurance can be great, but difficult to work with some times.

Thanks, @Ross Denman and @Jeff Copeland ! We are trying to get in touch with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (IURC) to see what our rights are. While I agree installing a second meter would be better, it would also cost us significant $$$ as they'd have to rerun a line to the street as well. I'll keep everyone updated on what we find so that this thread can be used as a reference going forward.