Cleveland, Ohio- water/sewer

8 Replies

single family home, so only one water meter, in Cleveland Ohio, new at renting- was planning on having tenant pay all utilities including water/sewer- if I keep the water/sewer in LL name- can I have the tenants still pay that bill? Wasn’t sure if there is a law that the tenant does not have to pay a bill that comes in Landlords name? Has anyone ever heard of that?   Or do I need in the lease, that the tenant is to pay for water usage while the bill comes in LL's name. I get the bill, I pay it and send a payment request to the tenant. This way I know water gets paid, as opposed to switching bills to tenants name. Thanks.

-Cleo

It stays in your name and then you can bill the tenants. Needs to be in the lease.

Some PMs won’t bill it back to the tenant and some will. I personally think the entire system being set up like that is nuts but it’s the way it is

Originally posted by @Cleo Bucceri :

single family home, so only one water meter, in Cleveland Ohio, new at renting- was planning on having tenant pay all utilities including water/sewer- if I keep the water/sewer in LL name- can I have the tenants still pay that bill? Wasn’t sure if there is a law that the tenant does not have to pay a bill that comes in Landlords name? Has anyone ever heard of that?   Or do I need in the lease, that the tenant is to pay for water usage while the bill comes in LL's name. I get the bill, I pay it and send a payment request to the tenant. This way I know water gets paid, as opposed to switching bills to tenants name. Thanks.

-Cleo

 As long as you have it in the lease, you can have them pay it. Send the bills right to them. Create an online account and watch to make sure it gets paid. They can handle it.

@Cleo Bucceri

Be sure that if they "happen to be late" on paying the water/sewer then you want to make sure it is taken care of one way or the other because if it does not get paid, Cleveland Water/Sewer will come after you for the money, not the tenant.

Originally posted by @Cleo Bucceri :

single family home, so only one water meter, in Cleveland Ohio, new at renting- was planning on having tenant pay all utilities including water/sewer- if I keep the water/sewer in LL name- can I have the tenants still pay that bill? Wasn’t sure if there is a law that the tenant does not have to pay a bill that comes in Landlords name? Has anyone ever heard of that?   Or do I need in the lease, that the tenant is to pay for water usage while the bill comes in LL's name. I get the bill, I pay it and send a payment request to the tenant. This way I know water gets paid, as opposed to switching bills to tenants name. Thanks.

-Cleo

 Welcome to the site Cleo. The Cleveland water department is a tough nut to crack. Recently I saw one member of bigger pockets refer to the Cleveland water department as a mafia type organization. I tend to agree with that statement.

At my company we get questions about the water department from landlords all the time. So much so that we actually address this question in our FAQ. Below is a copy of how and why we handle the water department the way we do.

______________

Q. I would like to charge the tenants for water and sewer. Will you bill my tenants?
A. No. The City of Cleveland, Division of Water will not pass water and sewer charges onto any individual other than the property owner. The water and sewer bill will ALWAYS remain in the Owner’s name therefore the ultimate responsibility of the water and sewer bill will ALWAYS fall onto the Owner.


See http://www.clevelandwater.com/customer-service/faq for more info.


Holton-Wise does not charge the tenants for water and sewer usage because of all the legal difficulties put in place by Ohio Landlord Tenant Law and the City of Cleveland, Division of Water. Holton-Wise recommends building water and sewer costs into the rental price because evicting for non-payment of a utility that is not in the tenants name is much more difficult than evicting for non-payment of rent. If the Owner wants to pursue an eviction case against a tenant for non-payment of water and sewer bills The Holton-Wise Property Group will have to refuse all future rental payments from the tenant and that Holton-Wise DOES NOT guarantee victory in any court case. Odds are very good that the Owner may lose the case. In the event of a lost eviction proceeding Holton-Wise will still bill the Owner for the normal eviction costs.


5321.04 Landlord obligations.
(A) A landlord who is a party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following:

(1) Comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes that materially affect health and safety;
(2) Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
(3) Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition;
(4) Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord;
(5) When the landlord is a party to any rental agreements that cover four or more dwelling units in the same structure, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of a dwelling unit, and arrange for their removal;
(6) Supply running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and reasonable heat at all times, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection;
(7) Not abuse the right of access conferred by division (B) of section 5321.05 of the Revised Code;
(8) Except in the case of emergency or if it is impracticable to do so, give the tenant reasonable notice of the landlord's intent to enter and enter only at reasonable times. Twenty-four hours is presumed to be a reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
(9) Promptly commence an action under Chapter 1923. of the Revised Code, after complying with division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code, to remove a tenant from particular residential premises, if the tenant fails to vacate the premises within three days after the giving of the notice required by that division and if the landlord has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in division (A)(6)(a)(i) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code, whether or not the tenant or other person has been charged with, has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of, or has been determined to be a delinquent child for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a violation as described in that division. Such actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe shall be determined in accordance with that division.
(10) Comply with the rights of tenants under the Service members Civil Relief Act, 117 Stat. 2835, 50 U.S.C. App. 501.

(B) If the landlord makes an entry in violation of division (A)(8) of this section, makes a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner, or makes repeated demands for entry otherwise lawful that have the effect of harassing the tenant, the tenant may recover actual damages resulting from the entry or demands, obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, and obtain a judgment for reasonable attorney's fees, or may terminate the rental agreement.

I like the mafia comment! So true!

Our company changes tenants $50 for the first occupant and $25 for each additional occupant age five and older, for water and sewer. On top of rent.

We also track bills to make sure a tenant doesn’t go over on usage.

I know the cost of Cleveland water/sewer can really get up there- I was thinking of increasing the rent and then putting in a contingency or something in the lease stating that we would pay up to $125 water/sewer and tenant is responsible for anything over that. 

In Cleveland, the water follows the property. 

You can have them pay it, but it is ultimately your bill if they skip out. 

Make sure you watch the balance. 

Not sure if it will hold up in court, but I have some friends that have in their lease that it is the tenants responsibility to pay the water but it is to be mailed to landlord. any money paid goes toward water/sewer FIRST then toward rent, so they bill gets paid and if they fall short, then it is rent they are missing and can be evicted. 

I am not saying it is legal, just telling you how some of my friends write it up.