Water Leak issue at new rental property

8 Replies


I'm fairly new to to Real Estate Investment (4 properties).  I purchased a rental property a few months ago and in the process of rehabbing it and getting inspections passed, we obviously had to turn the water on.  2 months later the water company sent me a water bill for $400.  Nobody was in the house except for repairs and no leaks were found.  Water Co. said 90% of the time it is an issue with a leaky toilet so we replaced the only toilet in the house just to be safe and shut the water off.  Fast forward 2 more months when the final inspections were being done, the water had to be turned on and we assumed the new toilet fixed the problem, but then I get another bill for another $400 on top of the other bill.  My prop manager (who manages 30+) properties has been to the house dozens of times and never seen any water leaks and heard any water running in the house.  The water co. worker didn't see anything either.  The tenant is getting ready to move in and we don't want to hand off a house to her that has $200/mo water bills.  The meter is inside the house so i THINK that would exclude any leaks outside the house from going on my bill, but i'm not sure.  Any ideas would be helpful.  Thanks  

Turn off everything in the house and look at the meter. If water is flowing, there should be a dial turning. If you can't find the leak after confirming it exists, call in a good plumber.

Thanks for the replies, everyone.  I'm going to have a plumber out tomorrow to look for a leak somewhere.  Bills are normally $20-30/mo so this is almost 10 times normal usage and nobody was even in the house most of that time.  A huge part of the problem is that the water company (MO American Water) is not communicating with their own contracting company that they use to install a reading device on the meter.  So i'm getting the run around from everybody. 

If the meter is in the house then the leak would need to be downstream of the meter location as the watre company is biling on metered usage. If the leak was outside, it would not be going through the meter. Check the meter, it should have a low flow indicator on it. If it is digital, there should be a "+" sign next to the numbers indicating water is flowing through it. You can also put some food coloring in the toilet tank and let it sit. If the colored water ends up in the bowl (without using the toilet) the flapper valve is leaking. That much water would show up somewhere. Good luck.