Water Bill Responsibility

2 Replies

I have a question pertaining to water bill payment and responsibility. I own a condo and the tenants are responsible for paying the water according to the lease. My last tenants were not consistent with paying the water and built up a 750 water bill. The bills go to them since they signed a water billing authorization form with the HOA. The water is billed to the HOA and then the HOA bills the account linked to the address.

Here is the wording contained on the form:

"hereby request that the water bill shall be addressed to me/us as the owner(s) of the unit but shall be mailed to the property address in my/our name in the care of (c/o) _________________________________________, my/our tenant.
(Tenant’s Name)
I/we understand that I/we are fully responsible for the payment of the bills and am/are held responsible if the bill is delinquent, plus any late fees and any legal fees incurred."

So does that mean me, as the owner, I should not pay using the security deposit? Would the association be able to place the blame on me which would eventually or potentially lead to a lien on the property? Is that possible since the water is billed to the HOA? Also, the HOA places both the monthly HOA fee and the water fee on one account. Is there a way to legally separate that or demand a separation? The account is a mess when the HOA arbitrarily would apply my monthly HOA payment for the amount due for water. I did use the security deposit to pay the water, but should I have let the HOA go after the tenants for the amount through legal means? Is there a legal obligation for me to use the security deposit for over due utilities? The property is located in Virginia.

Thanks in advance for any insights!

In most areas, as the property owner, you are ultimately on the hook for water even if the tenants have put it in their name.

I this case you have the HOA between you and the water provider. When I get fines from my HOAs, I pay them and then it is rebilled to the tenant. If they do not pay, it is like late rent. Provide them a 7 day notice and then start the eviction process. Zero tolerance.

Pay or quit, include copy of the most recent water bill,, list that as what is owed.

If they don't pay you can file eviction action for unpaid utilities per the lease agreement.

If you were to use the sec deposit for this where you going to be at when they move out ?? it's a common thought but sec deposits are not applied towards anything until the tenant is gone, then go to unpaid rents, damages, utilities, ect... 

Be firm keep on top of it.