Water bill responsibility with a broken pipe

2 Replies

I have a commercial property and the business owner/tenant called me last week and said he had a busted pipe and that the city came out and shut off his water.  The busted pipe was fixed, but now he has a $1400 water bill, where he usually only pays less than $30.  The bill is in his name.  My question is who is responsible?  The tenant said the guys that shut off the water told him to pass on the bill to the landlord.  Would the city be likely to make an adjustment?  The tenant said he had a pipe freeze 2 winters ago and the bill came to $900 and he didn't pay it.  He said the city just said it happens.  Any insight or advice on this is appreciated. 

@Brett Holmes i was going to say I would consider it my responsibility as a landlord. 

Then I read your post and found out it was a commercial property. What does your lease say? Who is responsible for repairs? If he is responsible for repairs then I would also say he is responsible for the water bill.

I'm with @Ned Carey ; it depends on what your lease says. With a residential property, this would normally be an owner expense. With a commercial property, it's typically a tenant expense. But there should be something in the lease that answers the question for you.

As for the bill, the utility provider will typically credit you back if they have clear evidence the water usage was due to a break and not to actual consumption. Call them to find out.