Water Dispute with the City

6 Replies

Need some advise please.

I have a tenant moving into my rental property today. I contacted the water department to turn on supply and they informed me I have a unpaid water for a six month period. When asked how much is was they said $5,000! They refuse to turn on the water until the paid is paid in full.

My normal bill six months is usually $500. The section 8 tenant that was living there until two months ago had been living there for over 4 years and that was her normal bills. I said to the water department they must have a faulty meter and for them to check. 

They advised they removed the meter a couple of months as the supply was turned off.

My question is how do I handle this as they are taking a hardline even though I am disputing the amount / usage. 

Was the bill in your name ?  did you pay the previous bills or the old tenant .  You have a hard fight on your hands

In my state cities won't let you put it in the tenant's name.  I always have the city send me a duplicate bill so I know if they are behind.  It seems to me they have to somehow prove that the bill is really that high.  

The bills isn't in the tenants name this city doesn't allow it. The bill is completely way-of-line, normal bills are $70 per month, but according to the billing for the last 6 months it would average $833 per month! 

The water department don't seem to interested in resolving it or acknowledging the dispute and providing a standard response that the bills need to be paid in full before reconnection.

Do you have a bill or invoice from the city showing the amounts charged over the last 6 months? Can they provide you with one?

One of my thoughts would be, is there a leak or did the tenant leave the water running?

Are you sure you don't have a leak? A leaking toilet could easily skyrocket water usage.

The city should be able to show you the monthly totals for usage and water the water meter read each month. Of course they could make a mistake but with how automated the meter reading, software and billing is they are pretty fool proof.

"The bills isn't in the tenants name this city doesn't allow it."

So if the bill isn't in the tenants name then that has to mean the water bill is in YOUR name the landlord correct??

If so you would have gotten a utility bill or SHOULD HAVE been requesting a duplicate each month. You would immediately know if the bill was really high. Right away you then got to the unit and check for leaks. Also if you have an outside spigot someone could be stealing water etc.

If leaks are found you document and repair and then the water authority usually has you fill out a form and do an adjustment  credit based on what it should have been. You will not be able to get one over on them. Where I am you talk to the water engineer on the phone and they know for no leaks and size of unit what amount of gallons are used on average each month. They even know how much water would leak extra based on the repair you had fixed.

Now looking back at your post did you just buy this property and getting the tenant and were hit with this 5,000 bill or have you owned the property since the billing has been piling up??

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