Sacramento - anyone having tenants pay for water?

18 Replies

Are any Sacramento landlords having the tenants pay for water for SFRs?

I've always considered Sacramento a 'landlord pays for water/sewer/garbage' city. I never paid it when I was a renter, and as such, I pay for it all on my rentals. I assume this could change as meters start being activated more.

I noticed not all craigslist ads mention it, so I thought I'd take an informal sampling on BP.

I'm not in Sacramento, but I rent a SFR in San Jose. I just switched from providing water on my previous lease to having my new tenants pay the water bill. I think in light of the drought, it is the only way to ensure responsible water use from our tenants. I had no problem leasing my home with this provision, though it is in a high demand neighborhood.

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instead of doing a rent increase, I started resigning leases (expired ones) with tenants having to pay for water. It has been well received by all tenants since we are in a middle of drought. Also it gives them a feeling that they are in control if how much their rent raise is, since it it based on consumption of water by them. So far no complaints. 


I am in Sacramento and Elk Grove. 

I have all of my SFR units paying their own water. Most of them are metered. For a few tenants where the water bill is part of the overall utility bill I provide them with the water portion so they can see I am not making up charges, if they ask.

In Elk Grove I require all of the tenants to go to the water district office and sign up in their name and have the water district send me a copy of the bill each month.  I am liable for the water bill if the tenant doesn't pay so I do not let them get behind and do not provide them their full deposit upon move out until the water bill is settled.

I find that I can get a higher rent as they usually think about their rent separate so they don't consider the overall cost.  I do tell them what the water bill averages and that it will depend on how much they use.  Overall I think I get $20-30 more a month overall in rent due to this.

In Elk Grove it is a two minute request on the phone or in the office and it comes automatically every month when they send the tenant their copy.  Mine is exactly like theirs except it states "COPY" across the front.

@Derek Daun on my rental the tenant pays for all utilities, which includes water sewer and garbage.  I had no problem with renting out my unit.  Obviously like @David Hutson said above you are still ultimately responsible for the costs so if the tenant doesn't pay you need to handle that.  My tenants have paid on time every month, and it was a fairly straight forward process to add them to the bill so it comes to the tenant at the address with their name on it.

I too have my tennants in San Jose pay for their own water, utilities and garbage. Our vacancy rate is  currently right around  2%.  So, those who rent have to go with the pun intended. 

We have multiple rentals in Elk Grove and San Jose.   For all Elk Grove properties the tenants pay for water.   In the case of the Sacramento properties it is a bit more mixed and dependent upon how much competition you have in the neighborhood where you own your rentals.

@Derek Daun , all the Elk Grove properties I manage pay for their own water. Bill pay is part of our service so the owner doesn't have to deal with it. We make sure tenants pay by having the bill come to the company and then bill the tenant for the water portion.  @David Hutson , thank you for pointing out Elk Grove Water can send the owner a copy upon request. 

 My husband and I own most of our properties in Sacramento and we do pay the water, sewer and garbage.  This cost is built into the rent. These are bundled services controlled by the City or County  and  these entities will place a lien on the property if it goes unpaid. We have one property that does have the water in the tenant's name, however. With this particular water company, if it goes unpaid for more than a month,  the company shuts it off.

@Penny Clark thanks for bringing this back up. With the recent approval of increased water service in Sacramento don't you see more landlords making the renters pay directly for water/sewer/garbage even in spite of the possibility of liens? 

@Frank Lienert , Yes I have seen more ads on Craigslist that say water, garbage and sewage must be paid by the tenant. I don't recommend it to my clients or to owner-managers because of the threat of liens. I think landlords who do this either keep a tight rein on their tenants and stay on top of it or they are ignorant about the consequences. 

I do, but you have to be careful to make sure they are actually paying or you will get a lien put on the property...

We have also done rent + non metered utilities charged monthly with rent.

I'm a new landlord of 3 single family homes in Arden arcade and Tahoe park area of Sac. 

I do charge the tenants for all utilities including garbage and sewer.It is after all its thier usage.

I had rented my home in the bay area where it's common that its always the tenants responsibility to pay for all. It was never included in the rent.

I think that it may have been a little different in Sacramento however I do think things are changing as the rental market is very competitive up there now. I had no problem renting my 3 homes up there right after they closed escrow in may this year.  It literally took 1 week of advisement to rent all three. And my son bought 2 homes in Tahoe park and agian rented right away at top dollar. We both do however give all of the tenants a 25.00 water credit for the sprinklers  to keep the landscaping nice for them and us and not have to haggle over that or have someone turn off the automatic system to save on the water bill. This has worked well for all of our  tenants and for us. I'm certain with the housing market up there being so hot you will see more and more landlords structuring it this way. It works well .No one has to be on th hook for anything that may not have been dicussed or ncorrectly anticipated with regards to someone's usage. And its normally done that way in strong rental markets like the bay area so most of the potenal renters are use to that anyway .I predict the Sacramento rental market will change alot this year and in the next 3 to 5 years along with the rising home prices and low inventory on avalible homes to purchase.Sacramento rental market may get some growing pains. 

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