Should you hire a lawyer for a Baltimore City water bill hearing?

4 Replies

Hoping to get thoughts from Baltimore City investors who are familiar with this. Perhaps @Ned Carey and others?

A friend reached out to me today. He has a multi-unit in Baltimore City (Brooklyn area) and has received a water bill of $8,000. He does not see any obvious leaks, but is also having a professional plumber come to check out the property.

His question to me was if it's worth hiring a lawyer for or not. I have done the water bill hearing once before, and there wasn't much to it except for me basically showing my plumber's repair receipt to get the water bill adjusted.

My bill also wasn't anywhere near $8,000. His question is for this amount of money and situation, should he be hiring a lawyer for the water bill hearing?

Hey Nicole, 

You can have your friend contact Baltimore City Public Works and request a water meter flow test. It'll cost a little over $100. It's possible that the water meter is misreading the amount of water being used. Over time they will wear and may leak providing inaccurate readings. 

I just went through this with one of my rentals. The test came back with results showing the water meter was indeed damaged and reporting inaccurate figures. I am now awaiting a revised account statement and credit.

I would try this option before proceeding with a lawyer. 

Good luck!

@Nicole A. I thought I had replied to this.  No you don' t need an attorney at the hearing and it might be counterproductive since they call them "Informal" hearings.  I am not sure how an attorney might be a benefit in that situation other than they might take it more seriously. 

@Darien White was this an old meter or one of the new ones they seem to claim are perfect? 

I think the place for a lawyer is a class action suit against the city. This has gone on for years with no accountability. Why doe the "Public Justice Center" fight for tenants to be able to steal water but  couldn't care less that the rest of the city is getting a raw deal.

Thanks for the thoughts guys. Sorry, Ned, I don't think I had asked you this prior because it just came up yesterday. Hopefully everything works out in my friend's favor and this doesn't turn into an on-going (uphill) battle!