Do you charge extra rent when on septic and private well?

15 Replies

About to buy a house on septic and well. My other houses are all on city/county water and sewer systems. So I'm wondering, since I'm footing the bill for the well and septic pumping, shouldn't I be able to charge extra rent to cover those expenses?

I figure list the rent as X and note that there is a $150 surcharge for septic and well water since it's paid for by the landlord...it's not free utilities...

Hey @Jack B. unfortunately you cant just force extra charges.. its not that your not allowed.. its just if the market says typical rental prices for your property are listed at 1000$ then getting a tenant to pay more than that will be very difficult especially if there more choices out there for them. what I would do ... (i wouldnt buy anything on septic or well anyway) is purchase the property at the right price to INCORPORATE those extra expenses in your planning before buying

Hope this helps! keep investing!

A couple things to consider about septic tank systems and rentals.

Most renters are not going to know the issues with a septic system.

1. Must use septic system approved toilet paper.

2. During heavy rainfall you can't wash clothes or run dishwasher.

3. No matter how well installed, septic systems during heavy rainfall may backup due to ground saturation.

I have one rental on a septic system but fortunately my tenants are country folk and know the issues.

The renters will be paying for the electricity to run the well pump. Water pump maintenance and the occasional pumping of the tank would be part of your expected cost of upkeep on the property. At lest that's my view. I would be far more concerned that the tank and any leech beds were installed correctly and functioning as they should be. Replacing either or both is a costly and messy job.

All my properties are on septic , I pump them once a year and bill the tenant . they knew when they signed the lease . ( no different than them paying a sewer bill) Nothing for the water . 

Main thing for a septic system , NO GREASE , NO WHITE TAILED MICE , NO GARBAGE DISPOSAL . no fabric softener (dryer sheets) , and use liquid laundry detergent . 

I have systems over 30 years old , no problems . 

Originally posted by @Justin Kane :

Hey @Jack B. unfortunately you cant just force extra charges.. its not that your not allowed.. its just if the market says typical rental prices for your property are listed at 1000$ then getting a tenant to pay more than that will be very difficult especially if there more choices out there for them. what I would do ... (i wouldnt buy anything on septic or well anyway) is purchase the property at the right price to INCORPORATE those extra expenses in your planning before buying

Hope this helps! keep investing!

 I don't understand your logic.  Charging them for the two utilities that they use but are local to the property as opposed to on city systems, which they would be billed directly for, is merely passing that cost onto the tenant. As I noted in my OP (did you read it or just the title????) it would likely be something I would just charge as an add on to the rent. 

Come to think of it, I have a rental with an oil tank for heat. The tenant pays for it to be filled themselves. But using your logic I should pay it??? The tenant pays market rent, that doesn't include free utilities....

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

All my properties are on septic , I pump them once a year and bill the tenant . they knew when they signed the lease . ( no different than them paying a sewer bill) Nothing for the water . 

Main thing for a septic system , NO GREASE , NO WHITE TAILED MICE , NO GARBAGE DISPOSAL . no fabric softener (dryer sheets) , and use liquid laundry detergent . 

I have systems over 30 years old , no problems . 

I knew there was more things to list but I'm kinda brain dead today. My buddy who installs new systems now separate out the drains to a separate tank for grey water and black water. These are great systems because you don't have to worry about washing clothes when ground is saturated.

@Clifford Paul We set a record for rainfall here in Maryland this year . Over 70 inches .  Not 1 problem with septic drainfields .  But we have sandy soil , clay starts at about 12 feet .  I do have 1 advantage over most , I use to work with a friend doing septics 25 years ago , AND I have my own backhoe .  

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

All my properties are on septic , I pump them once a year and bill the tenant . they knew when they signed the lease . ( no different than them paying a sewer bill) Nothing for the water . 

Main thing for a septic system , NO GREASE , NO WHITE TAILED MICE , NO GARBAGE DISPOSAL . no fabric softener (dryer sheets) , and use liquid laundry detergent . 

I have systems over 30 years old , no problems . 

 unless you have Matthew experience I personally would not buy rentals on private systems.. when there are so many rentals that have city services.. when septics or wells go bad.. its major bucks and it can be unless.  As Mr. Paul mentioned he has his own Case 580 and actually knows how to run it..  

and really depends in jurisdiction as well.. some of these health departments are pretty tough.. they can condemn and make people move ..

@Jay Hinrichs  Its actually a Deere 310B.  My county is a crap shoot , some communities are well/septic some are city water / septic , some are well / sewer  and some are city water / sewage .   I dont get picky , if its a deal I go for it . 

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

@Jay Hinrichs  Its actually a Deere 310B.  My county is a crap shoot , some communities are well/septic some are city water / septic , some are well / sewer  and some are city water / sewage .   I dont get picky , if its a deal I go for it . 

I hear ya.. and of course most any property that is rural is well and septic.. my thoughts are though that if someone is an absentee out of area landlord  that really does not know much about these systems.. and everything being equal city utls are safer.  

@Jay Hinrichs We were rural , Anne Arundel county now isnt .  My properties are 20 minutes to annapolis , 35 to Balto and 1 hour to dc .  If they can build on it they are . Yes Public utilities are prefered , but some of the most expensive communities are well and septic . There is no rhyme  or reason 

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

@Jay Hinrichs We were rural , Anne Arundel county now isnt .  My properties are 20 minutes to annapolis , 35 to Balto and 1 hour to dc .  If they can build on it they are . Yes Public utilities are prefered , but some of the most expensive communities are well and septic . There is no rhyme  or reason 

 OH believe me I get it.. having sold ranch land in N CA to start my career and then being a logger in the Northwest and busting many a large track into homesites which all required well and septic.. 

my point is with so many rentals to buy in the US.. those type of situations just taken on some added risk if your not from there and have knowledge of how the systems work and keep them running.

No, you don't,  they aren't  considered amenities.   People can be scared off by the water quality or just the unfamiliarity of septic. Some of the septic warnings listed above are just not accurate everywhere.   I have lived in 5 houses with septic in different states and never had a problem doing laundry or using a dishwasher when it rains.  Toilet paper is fine however they cannot put wet ones, tampax down the drain.  

In the end if it is common in the area you will have fewer problems renting then if it is unusual and you should educate yourself, know what kind of septic it is.  Try www.privatewellclass.org for well and I think they have a little septic info. Make sure you mention it on the tour because well water is a plus or a minus for some people