Sec 8 tenant doesn’t want to pay sewer for SFH

24 Replies

Sec 8 tenant doesn't want to pay sewer I know it's the landlord job but in my SFH C class properties. I let the tenant pay all the bills and I just handle maintenance and repairs and upgrades. In my non Sec 8 A class property the tenants don't complain but I guess they have the money so don't worry about it. How would you handle this issue ? I don't want to put the tenant in the property and she complains about the sewer bill.

I recommend letting the prospective tenant know that it doesn't appear this is the right fit for her since it is for rent at $x PLUS the cost of all utilities including the sewer.  I would give her an estimate of what that total cost could be and remind her that these services are the ones that would be exclusively used by the tenant.  

If she doesn't want to pay sewer, she should find a property where that service is included.  And, I would be reluctant to rent to her because what starts out crazy, only ends crazier.  She'll be challenging you on it starting month one.  Save yourself!

We had that issue early on, but only because we did not include it on the list of utilities the tenant was responsible in our lease.  Just add it to the lease and they will be required to pay it.

Call their handlers down at the office and explain the situation . The threat of losing their meal ticket often entices these grifters to get back in line

When you advertise the property, you disclose that the Tenant is responsible for utilities.

When you sign the lease, you state in writing that Tenant is responsible for utilities.

When Tenant fails to pay utilities, you start the eviction process.

Don't overthink it.

This really depends on the jurisdiction; here in Cleveland, the Sec 8 contract itself outlines who is responsible for each utility. In fact when the landlord submits the packet for approval by Sec 8, they must select who will pay the water/sewer - and most landlords choose to pay water/sewer themselves, as it results in a higher rent determination.

So I see you are getting a lot of responses from various states but please check with your local Sec 8 authority.  It sounds like you don't have other Sec 8 tenants, so this is worth finding out.

Originally posted by @Patricia Steiner :

I recommend letting the prospective tenant know that it doesn't appear this is the right fit for her since it is for rent at $x PLUS the cost of all utilities including the sewer.  I would give her an estimate of what that total cost could be and remind her that these services are the ones that would be exclusively used by the tenant.  

If she doesn't want to pay sewer, she should find a property where that service is included.  And, I would be reluctant to rent to her because what starts out crazy, only ends crazier.  She'll be challenging you on it starting month one.  Save yourself!


This.  Find another tenant.  Beat it, loser.  Find someone else to rent from and torture.   

 

@Patricia Steiner . She has been pretty decent up until this point she is basically stalking the property the property went through one inspection I got dinged for some small stuff re-inspection is this friday coming up. She has been good she shows up to all the inspections lol it’s funny to me but seems like a good tenant I’m letting my PM do his job and get her security and screen her well. I don’t want to lose the tenant especially after all this paperwork and hassle. And the guaranteed rent. Is this really something to get rid of her before she signs the lease over ?

@Anna Sagatelova . This is my first Sec 8 tenant by choice. I also found her through someone I know that was looking for a place. She is a female with 2 kids seems like decent enough tenants this is honestly the first issue ive had out of her. The house is on a meter so I don’t want it in my name I want and will have the tenant pay it because I’ve seen how crazy the meter can be.

Originally posted by @Jermell Shavers :

@Anna Sagatelova. This is my first Sec 8 tenant by choice. I also found her through someone I know that was looking for a place. She is a female with 2 kids seems like decent enough tenants this is honestly the first issue ive had out of her. The house is on a meter so I don’t want it in my name I want and will have the tenant pay it because I’ve seen how crazy the meter can be.

 Ok sounds like your jurisdiction's rules are quite different from Cleveland's. Here, it wouldn't even matter if the tenant could put the water/sewer in their name - water/sewer bills stay with the property, not the person.

Wishing you the best of luck - I hope it works out!

@Jermell Shavers

Jermell, thanks for your mention/question...let me ask you this:  have you made your decision?  If so, you don't need anyone to validate/invalidate it.  I haven't met the tenant like you have but the fact that she shows up at every inspection after telling you that she doesn't want to pay for the sewer, tells me that she thinks she's not paying for it.  There's always another tenant but my concern for you is that you find one who respects that you've made a huge financial investment in the property and that you expect those using it to be respectful of it, you, and pay their full share.  You deserve that tenant. 

@Patricia Steiner . My PM is gonna have a talk with her about her paying all the utilities he says if he senses any hesitation he won’t rent to her. I said ok. She said she was willing to pay them she is basically outta options on her sec 8 voucher but I’ll let everybody know how it goes when she eventually gets in the property. If she doesn’t pay the first month she is getting evicted and in my state it’s a quick process. Then she is back on the street. I’m trying to help her out but she has to be grown and pay her bills. I guess I’ve never lived like that so it’s hard for me to understand you’ll pay all the bills except sewer ?? Guess this is the times we’re living in we’re adults aren’t adults.

This should be spelled out in the Housing Authority Payment (HAP) contract. If water was not included in there originally when determining what the housing authority will pay on the tenant's behalf then you cannot charge for it now. That would put you at risk of having the Section 8 program shut off for you. If the water bill is included in the HAP contract then the tenant has no right to complain. 

Overall in Ohio if it is individually metered, as in SFHs, you can pass it on to the tenant but Section 8 is a bit different and needs to be included in their calculation. 

That depends on how it is billed @Ben Smalley .  In my market we get a separate bill for sewer and ground water. This has to be included, in addition to water, on the lease for SEC 8 to count it.

I know its an added expense which is why when you say pay utilities needs to be spelled out at lease. Some areas its the going standard landlords pay some not, Its like requiring tenant to pay your taxes, you dont but build it in rent amount, it is leinable which means affects your title to your property, so why would you ever put that in tenants hands, section 8 would cover that in their equations so if landlords pay would allow higher rent to cover, if you didnt specify in original contract you will have to cover, each tenant expense must be checked off, so check with section 8 contract

Several years ago I had a section 8 tenant. I suggest you contact the housing case manager. They will give you all the info you need to determine what they allow their tenants to pay. At that time, I was allowed to have the tenant pay all of their utilities. I always pay garbage since I expect them to use it. My lease specifically spells out what is paid and the terms ie I don't pay for additional trash bags nor can tenant order additional cans, dumpster etc on the account. The lease was approved by housing so there was no confusion about who should pay what. My lease also requires that utilities remain connected to the property. It is a lease violation if they have them disconnected (it is ugly when there is no water to flush, yes, I had a tenant lose their power and water the last month. You could literally smell the feces up the street.)

@Ben Smalley . This lady hasn’t even moved in the house yet. I’m seriously doubting if I should

Rent to her at this point. She just doesn’t want to pay it and saying don’t be greedy it’s just a sewer bill made me kinda upset tbh. She is saying it’s gonna be cold soon. I said if it doesn’t make money or I’m below a certain amount it doesn’t make sense for me to rent to you. Then she tells me I been patiently waiting for months it’s not like I knew her and exclusively promised it to her. She just applied but apparently were here now. I let her know if she isn’t gonna pay the sewer bill it’s not likely this is going to work. Then she goes into this sob story about how hard her life is and that she been sleeping in her van for months and on people’s couch. It’s hard for her to understand that it needs to make money. For cap ex maintenance insurance taxes. All that she couldn’t wrap her mind around that. I talked to her previous landlord he said he would rent to her again so that’s good. I asked why she wasn’t there till this day he told me that she just left after giving him

Notice never got a reason.

@Patti Robertson I’m going to make sure it’s on her application I don’t pay sewer for my sfh and either she will get used to it or she will be back in her van and sleeping on people’s couch she is 40 years old with 2 kids time to grow up.

@Sharon Rosendahl I’m gonna make sure all those things stay connected and it’s in her lease. She is used to renting apartment where the landlord pays the sewer but I told her it’s a sfh and this is the way I do it. I said it’s works for my other sfh I’m like I need you to pay for that because I don’t use it and if it isn’t paid every month and all utilities are connected and stay connected then I’ll have to evict you

Ha yes she is trying to game the system. But once they apply you need to submit all their paperwork to the housing authority outlining who pays what. You and her need to sign this paperwork so if she doesn't sign then she doesn't agree to it, and if it is signed and it states the water bill is the tenant's responsibility then you're good. You then submit all that and the housing authority will determine what you can legally charge her. Usually if owner pays more of the utilities then the housing authority will come back with a higher amount. Say market is $850 you should submit housing paper requesting $950 and they take into account market rate, what utilities tenant pays, etc. and gives you a rent number and what % they will cover on behalf of the tenant.

Having a tenant argue about sewer before this process (and I assume it was in the listing too) sounds like a headache and a tenant that will be difficult to manage down the road. I say pass. 

@Ben Smalley . The more and more I talk to her I’m really starting to think about not renting to her if she is so concerned about a sewer bill what else will there be a problem with. I have called her case manager but no response so far

@Ben Smalley I decided not to rent to her. I didn’t like the conversation we had and her talking about it’s the law for the landlord it’s whatever the lease says you’re gonna pay to stay in the property. Better take it for what it is and avoid a headache