Excessive water usage

5 Replies

I recently started managing a duplex with a single man living in one side and 2 women living in the other side. The water bill last month was $270 and this month it is $353. I'm looking for ideas on how to handle this situation. The yard to the duplex is very large, especially the backyard and the grass is as green as can be. I don't want to make the tenants angry but those water bill are outrageous! Thanks.

Do you have a historical usage of water? Do tenants water the grass? Any leaks?  If this is a sharp spike with the same tenants water could be leaking into the ground -- it happened to me.

General water usage is approximately 50 gallons per day per person.

The good news @James Erickson is that you're going to be able to fix this problem for sure and show off your value as a property manager.

There are tons of water saving devices that will pay for themselves in no time. Toilets are some of the biggest water users.

But go down the list, check if lawns are over water, is drip irrigation in place, water efficient toilets and shower heads etc.

Check for leaks

This is very solvable - Best to you! 

Originally posted by @Yvette M. :

Do you have a historical usage of water? Do tenants water the grass? Any leaks?  If this is a sharp spike with the same tenants water could be leaking into the ground -- it happened to me.

General water usage is approximately 50 gallons per day per person.

This figure is too low unless you're talking about retired or single people. Most people use somewhere around 100 GPD when averaged out in a household. EPA will tell you 80-100 per person per day. Engineers will design for 200 or more GPD when factoring demand. 

OP: you don't know if the water use is outrageous or not based on amounts. What kind of consumption figures are we talking about? Your bill should show how much water was used, number of days in the billing cycle, and how the charges break down. On a duplex, if your water bill is 12,000 gallons or less per month, I would probably consider that roughly normal, though there are plenty of things you can do to find what's using water (or if it's leaking, maybe through a toilet or underground on your service line). 

@James Erickson , Is the water separately metered for both sides? Everyone here is mentioning how to save water - which is good- if you are stuck paying for it. However, is it possible for you to shift the water bill to the tenant by either 1) incorporating the cost into the rent or 2) having the tenant put the water in their name (this should only be done if the agency allows it and they will shut the service off if it goes unpaid and will not impose a lien on the property. 

Good luck!

I did some research and the water bills for that place have always been high. The one constant is the single man because the other side has had different tenants over the 6 year period he has been living there. Close to 45,000 gallons of water were used from 5/23 to 6/22. Rents here are very low and that $353 water bill takes up 78% of his rent!

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here