Water bill DOUBLES at separetely metered duplex

13 Replies

Hi everyone, i just got my water bill on a separately metered duplex and it jumped from $115 per side to $230 per side for a total of $460 this bill...Im wondering what could be causing this. Its unlikely both units have running toilets. I just bought the property 6 months ago so this is only my second bill (quarterly billing). Could the water department be playing catchup on my bill? What should i do any thoughts?

It's very likely @Robin Casperthat you have a toilet that is running non-stop and the tenant doesn't care enough to tell you. Set up inspections with the tenants and inspect all toilets and sinks to see if they are running/leaking. 

Some causes of an increased water bill.

  • Leaking toilet or faucets
  • Toilet running constantly   (Most often the cause)
  • Family bathes and showers more than someone else
  • Guests are over using the water  or they are using water more than normal
  • Doing the wash more often or allowing others to come over and do their laundry
  • Washing their cars more often or allowing others to come over and wash their vehicles
  • Dirt and debris stuck in the meter 

Talk to your tenants about the increase, ask if they have been doing anything out of the ordinary regarding water usage.  Guest over?  Call the water dept to investigate.  If nothing wrong, then send a letter to the tenant stating that since the water bill has increased and the bill is higher, that you have no choice but to increase their rent by $25 a month in order to cover the extra expense of the water bill being increased.  

I'd first go over the meter read dates and readings with the water department to determine whether this bill is even abnormal. You may average everything out and find that you just got billed for more days and/or that prior readings were estimated.

I think what everyone is missing is that he said the bill for BOTH sides is high. Definitely check with the water metering company and see if this is abnormal. Or as @JR T. said your last bill may have been estimated, or this is the first bill that actually has your water use on it since they bill quarterly and you have only been there 6 months, assuming the home was vacant previously.

thank you @Kevin Harrison for noticing it was happening in each unit. Sounds dumb but I didn't even know that they estimated water usage just like electric and gas. It could be that. I would rather have it be that than a leak because I can't exactly go over and look at the property because I am currently deployed in Africa haha.  I inherited the tenants so the home wasn't previously vacant. I'm wondering if maybe the first bill I got after closing was just low because I acquired the property mid way into the cycle and therefore split the last bill with the previous landlord?

I already raised rents on them first month I bought it and didn't want to rock the boat by charging them for water too and risking them moving out right before I deployed. When I get back I plan on changing everything because the rents are still well below what the market allows. For now I'm just going to play it save and bite the bullet to avoid having a vacancy. Having them pay water too would probably over extend these particular tenants. 

@Andrew Meyer

oh I know I've been counting my chickens this whole deployment. I know exactly what I'm going to do with all that cash haha. I can't wait to get back in the real estate game but for now I'll just drool over all the deals I see on the MLS @Kevin Harrison

Very low likelihood, but always keep in mind a main line or slab leak. I'm dealing with one right now on the order of leaking 2400 gallons per day.

Not sure what the water bill will be this time, but if something like this were to have gone unnoticed, my bill would be in the $900/m range for a SFH.