City of Hallandale FL requires utility accounts to be in owner's name

9 Replies

Just got a flyer for my duplex in Hallandale, FL stating next year the utility accounts - water, sewer, sanitation must be in the name of the owner on record, and not the tenants.

Owner will get a bill, and be responsible for the bill.  Optionally, owner may request a copy of the bill to be sent to the tenants.

I guess my rent will include water/sewer/sanitation from now on.  I don't want to have to pay it then ask the tenants for a monthly reimbursement, too much hassle.

Ugh, that's not good. If you pay for utilities, tenants won't care if they are running the heat with the windows open, etc.

Where I manage properties, the water and trash are the responsibility of the owner, but the tenant can get and pay those bills, or in one city, has to sign up for autopay.

I have in the lease that the tenant is responsible for the utilities, that if they don't pay them and the landlord has to, they then owe 105%, and that any payments that come in first go to late fees, ect., utilities the landlord had to pay for them, then rent. When they move out, make sure you find out that the balance on all utility bills is zero before refunding them the security deposit. I also require all utilities to be in their name 2 biz days before the lease starts in order for them to get possession of the property.

@Kimberly H.

For my single family homes, the tenants pay for their own everything, from electric to gas to water/sewer/sanitation, cable, internet etc...

Especially in Fort Lauderdale, where the tenants are responsible for the bills, and EVEN if they don't pay and have delinquent accounts, they don't transfer that to the owner, meaning the city of Fort Lauderdale will not file a lien on your property because the last tenant didn't settle a $300 bill.

But in Hallandale they are making the owners pay.  One of the bullet points on their letter say this is done so that owners can see the ups and downs on the monthly bills and they can see if there is any indication of underground leaks.

I really like FPL (Florida Power & Light) where they let you establishes a landlord account and put properties under it.  No need to activate or deactivate services, when tenants disconnect, yours automatically reconnects and vice versa.

You should probably consider collecting a separate deposit for the utilities.  If your tenant's rent deposit ends up going on utilities and there is damage to the unit you can end up coming out of pocket. Just a thought. I live in North Miami Beach and they bill every three months so the water bill can be pretty steep.

Originally posted by @Sam Leon:

"Optionally, owner may request a copy of the bill to be sent to the tenants."

I seriously doubt the city/utilities are going to turn down checks from someone other than the owner. Have the copies sent to the tenants and make sure per the terms of the lease that they are responsible for paying.

Originally posted by @Sam Leon:

@Kimberly H.

For my single family homes, the tenants pay for their own everything, from electric to gas to water/sewer/sanitation, cable, internet etc...

Especially in Fort Lauderdale, where the tenants are responsible for the bills, and EVEN if they don't pay and have delinquent accounts, they don't transfer that to the owner, meaning the city of Fort Lauderdale will not file a lien on your property because the last tenant didn't settle a $300 bill.

But in Hallandale they are making the owners pay.  One of the bullet points on their letter say this is done so that owners can see the ups and downs on the monthly bills and they can see if there is any indication of underground leaks.

I really like FPL (Florida Power & Light) where they let you establishes a landlord account and put properties under it.  No need to activate or deactivate services, when tenants disconnect, yours automatically reconnects and vice versa.

 I cannot stand when these companies try to BS their customers into believing that their new unwanted policies are put in place as a benefit to the customer. If the owners wanted the power in their name so they could see the ups/downs they always had the option to have it in their name.

I really hope that's not something the other cities in South Florida will follow.

Originally posted by @Shawn Burgess:

You should probably consider collecting a separate deposit for the utilities.  If your tenant's rent deposit ends up going on utilities and there is damage to the unit you can end up coming out of pocket. Just a thought. I live in North Miami Beach and they bill every three months so the water bill can be pretty steep.

 Shawn, I have a property in North Miami too, well actually unincorporated Dade County but only one block over from the the City of North Miami, but my utility bill comes from City of North Miami and you are right it's every three months there!

Originally posted by @Chris K.:
Originally posted by @Sam Leon:

@Kimberly H.

For my single family homes, the tenants pay for their own everything, from electric to gas to water/sewer/sanitation, cable, internet etc...

Especially in Fort Lauderdale, where the tenants are responsible for the bills, and EVEN if they don't pay and have delinquent accounts, they don't transfer that to the owner, meaning the city of Fort Lauderdale will not file a lien on your property because the last tenant didn't settle a $300 bill.

But in Hallandale they are making the owners pay.  One of the bullet points on their letter say this is done so that owners can see the ups and downs on the monthly bills and they can see if there is any indication of underground leaks.

I really like FPL (Florida Power & Light) where they let you establishes a landlord account and put properties under it.  No need to activate or deactivate services, when tenants disconnect, yours automatically reconnects and vice versa.

 I cannot stand when these companies try to BS their customers into believing that their new unwanted policies are put in place as a benefit to the customer. If the owners wanted the power in their name so they could see the ups/downs they always had the option to have it in their name.

Not sure what the real motivation is, may be they are having problems collecting from tenants moved out and decide to put the thumb on the owners.

It doesn't affect me too much I will just raise the rent a bit to offset the cost.  But what surprises me is they are forcing condos and co-ops to have a single master account instead of individual account for each unit.  Hallandale has lots of retirees here on high rise condos.  Some of these condos the owners pay a monthly association fee that covers the utilities and insurance etc..., but some of those with individual unit meters those can't continue and have to create a master utility account by the association by Jan 1 2016.

You may reconsider the hassle factor after you get a few months in.  Don't be surprised if your tenants start running their sprinklers year-round and washing their cars in the driveway every weekend.  You'd better be sitting down when you open that bill... Yikes!

One option that may work would be to go ahead and include water/sewer/sanitation in the lease but only up to a certain reasonable limit.  You would probably vary this by the number of bedrooms in each house/unit (i.e. $25 for a 1-bed, $35 for a two-bed, etc.).  I've heard of this approach being successful in college rentals where water being included is the expected norm but not necessarily required the municipality.  It should accomplish the same goal though.

If you established limits, you wouldn't have to bill every tenant every month, just the ones who exceeded the limit. Plus you still protect yourself from ridiculously high bills and your tenants will remain conscious of their usage to avoid having to come out of pocket.

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