High Water Bill at Duplex with Single Meter - How to Bill?

2 Replies

Hi All, I have a little bit of a tricky situation here and would appreciate any feedback or suggestions. I have a duplex (top and bottom unit) with a single water meter. Each unit has only one tenant in it. The normal quarterly water\sewer\trash bill is around $300 but this time it was about $600. The cause was a leaky toilet in the upstairs unit. I am not sure how to properly bill each tenant though. On the one hand, the leases say they are each responsible for 50% of the water bill. On the other hand I don't feel the bottom tenant should be paying for water he hasn't used. How would you handle this situation? Some options I'm thinking of are:

1. Bill the bottom tenant the normal amount of $150, then split the remaining $450 with the upstairs tenant. I would pay $225 and she would pay $225

2. Bill the downstairs tenant $150 as normal and bill the upstairs tenant the full $450 as it was caused by the leaking toilet in her unit.

3. Follow the lease and bill each tenant $300

4. Bill each tenant $150 which is about normal and absorb the extra $300. 

 The lease for both tenants says this in regards to utilities and the water bill:

"

25 The Tenant is responsible for the payment of all utilities in relation to the second floor of the Property. The Tenant’s portion of the trash pickup, sewer, and water bill will be initially paid by the landlord quarterly, with the agreement that the Tenant will repay the landlord in full within 14 days of receiving a copy of the bill from the township. If payment is not received in full by the end of the 14 day period, a $30 late fee will be added to the bill. Unpaid utility bills will be considered as unpaid rent.

27 Water will be billed on a per person basis between the upstairs unit and the downstairs unit. For example, if there are two tenants living in the upstairs unit and one living in the downstairs unit, the upstairs unit tenants will be responsible for 66% of the water bill and the downstairs tenant responsible for the remaining 33%."


What do you all think is the best course of action? Going forward I would like to see if we can sub meter the water for each unit, but I still need to figure out what to do in this instance. Thanks in advance for any advice. 

I would NOT charge the bottom tenant any additional, it was not their fault. 

I would split it with the upper tenant and let them know that this is a 'one time' courtesy because it was their issue and they need to notify you in a timely manner for maintenance.

@Jeff Willis Yeah that's what I'm leaning most towards doing right now. Just wanted to hear what others would do in this case. Definitely wouldn't feel good about charging the downstairs tenant anything extra.