I am new to being a landlord and want some advice here. I got a water bill that is normally around $65 a month that was $400 this month for a rental property. When I sent my property management group to look at the meter, the tenant told them that the toilets have been running non-stop. He failed to report this so we could correct it. Last month the consumption was 29K+ gallons and this month we are already at 10K gallons and looking at another $400 bill I am sure. Since he failed to report, is he liable to pay the high bill? The property group hasn't responded to me and I would like to get a general consensus here.
@Christy Jones make sure to contact the local water department. Once every couple of years Akron will forgive an unusually high bill if you submit evidencce that you repaired the problem.
@Christy Jones our local water company has contacted us if the suspect a leak. We ask tenants to report; but we do not get them to pay. When we inspect we always look for leaks of any kind.
Unless you've got a really high end rental, I cannot fathom a tenant who is willing to pay a $700 water bill. The tenant's position will almost certainly be, "Well, it's your responsibility to maintain the toilet. I didn't even know I was supposed to report that." If you want to escalate things into a conflict with your tenant over a bill that is likely not collectible, then try to charge them for it. Otherwise, just let it go, eat the cost, and learn from it.
If Landlord is the one receiving the water bills, the first high water bill should have been the big "red flag" that there was a leak. I realize Landlord wants to blame the idiot tenant, but Landlord must also accept some of the blame. And yes, sometimes the water company will give you a one-time break on the inflated bill. In the future, educate all your tenants that they MUST immediately inform Landlord of any leaks.
Just curious, what was the tenant's excuse for not reporting it? Remember this when it comes time to renew their lease.
Often the water company will let you know if things are running high. Some utility companies will give you a one time break (eg 50% discount) for things like this. Give them a call. If not, the tenant knew and did nothing, I would get them to pay at least half of the bill. Plus when the lease is up for renewal, add in a clause and increase the rent.
Meanwhile, assuming you haven't already done so, get the toilet fixed.
In my experience, the "credit" provided by the utility company is typically pennies on the dollar and almost not worth asking for. Ridiculous.
The tenant is responsible for reporting maintenance in a timely manner. Part of the responsibility lies with the Landlord or property manager.
My response is based on the tenant, quality of the rental, size of the bill, and other factors. In your case, you may want to negotiate something lower with the tenant like splitting the cost. whatever you decide to charge, you need to give them a deadline to pay it and then follow through with eviction if they refuse. If you choose to accept payments, don't let them stretch it more than 90 days and enforce the deadlines for each installment!
This is specified in our Lease. It is the responsibility of the tenant to report a running toilet.
Why are you paying the water bill instead of the tenant?
First, the tenant is not responsible if you agreed to pay the water.
Second, this is why you never have rent that 'included utilities'. Always make the tenant responsible for any utilities that can fluctuate due to their consumption (gas, water, sewer, electric). Only offer to pay for utilities that are fixed (trash, internet).
Depending on the type of unit and/or the city it is in, the landlord has to be the person listed to pay the utilities......so that aspect MAY be out of his hands....
You are probably going to have to eat this and chalk it up to lesson learned. If you are paying the utilities and get a bill that seems "off", you need to investigate sooner rather than later.