Strategy to charge tenants for water when not metered separately?

2 Replies

I just purchased my first property. It is a multi-family with three units. I will be living in one, and the other units will have the same tenants who lived there under the old owner. They are paying below-market rent (one has a lease expiring next spring, and the other is month-to-month and the rent will be increasing gradually per advice from the property management company I am using). The water for the building is not metered separately, so I will be responsible for that bill, and the water district confirmed its going to be a pretty substantial amount (considering how low rent is). One of the units is a family of 6 who also has a swimming pool, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to charge a water fee of some sort without being able to show exactly what they are using. I want to be reasonable here, but I’m estimating at least 3/4 of the use is theirs. The other occupants would be me (I travel weekly for work... home 3 days per week max), and a woman with an infant and a toddler (her lease states water is included anyway). Is this worth considering, and if so, how can I be as fair as possible? Thank you for any advice.

There are a couple of online calculators you might be able to use to justify how much water they are using. You could use these ammo to justify their consumption vs yours. Here's one I found online:

Another option might be to divide the total bill by the total people in the triplex.  If there are 6 in that unit, 1 in yours, 3 in the other, that's a total of 10 people. At minimum they should be responsible for 6/10ths of the bill, right? Without calculating the pool.  Just a thought.

Good luck!