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water bill
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OH landlord
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 Posted: Tue Mar 18th, 2008 02:15 pm
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workingboy456, see my reply in your other post.

workingboy456
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 Posted: Tue Mar 18th, 2008 01:56 pm
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I have a situation where I have a house where 3 people signed the lease.  THey pay their own utilities.  2 of these 3 people are married to eachother.  I get a call by one of the married tenants on Sat that they want me (the landlord) to talk to the 3rd tenant about having a messy (filthy) room and also about his body order .....Is that a landlord's responsibility?

Secondly,  I get a call last night from the same married tenant who stated that the other (3rd tenant) took his name off the electric bill and now the married tenant wants the lease re-written from 3 people to 2 people (just the married couple) so that the electric can be switched over.  But here's the kicker,  I called the electric company and they said that a re-working of the lease is not necessary for the elctric to get switched over..  SO why are the married tenants pushing for this?

Also is it my duty to get involved with the 3rd tenant's body order and cleanliness issues?

DB

OH landlord
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 Posted: Mon Mar 17th, 2008 11:56 am
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OH does actually lien property for a tenant's unpaid water bill.  One of my fellow LLs is going to court today (1:30p.m.) to try and fight having a lien placed against one of her properties because the tenant failed to pay the water bill.  This is her second hearing on 2 different cases in 2 months!  Another LL is going to court next month for the same thing.  They actually hired extra staff in our city attorney's office this year just to try these cases and place liens on these properties.  We were told they are trying to lien at least 100 properties a year now by pursuing the top 100 highest bills.  (Once they are done with those, I'm sure they will start on the next 100 unpaid bills.)  The utility company is tired of getting unpaid bills, but won't pursue the tenant for the bill.  (They consider them uncollectible.)  And it only requires a $100 deposit from them.  Not nearly enogh to pay their final bill.

The same tenant comes into the office and places the water at her next place in someone else's name and she still gets service.  I have called them and told them that tenant XXX is living at such an address.  Their reply is that the water bill there is not in her name so they can't tack it onto that bill.  So as long as they put the next bill in Mom's, Dad's, one of the kid's, Grandma's, or even the dog's name, they get out of paying and we get stuck with it.

Inside the city limits, the water company can lien a property for the bill.  Outside the city limits (in the county) the water company cannot do this (different company) but the sewer company can!  In other areas of the country, it has been reported that the heat bill can be liened or a combined bill (electric & gas) can be liened.  Personally, I think this is unconstitutional to hold the owner accountable for someone else's utility usage.  We didn't use those utilities.  We didn't benefit from them.  We didn't sign to be responsible for them (all the local LLs in our association refuse to fill out that form!).  But still we are billed for someone else's usage.  Why don't they pursue the deadbeat tenant for it?  And if we don't pay, they try to place a lien on our property or add it to our county tax bill.  Sucks!!!  (personal opinion)

We can call in the meter and get them to come out and do a reading for a final bill.  But the utility company here is so slow!  It takes several days to come read the meter (we can't do that ourselves, the meter is under one of those large locked metal covers) and up to another week to get the reading put into the computer to calculate the bill. 

Here this utility only bills every 2 months.  If a bill is not paid when due, it really isn't considered late until the next bill - 2 months later (by which time the tenant owes 4 months of usage).  They rarely consider shut off until the bill after that (6 months usage).  And if the tenant goes down and sign the payment arrangement, they don't turn off the water; but they keep it on and allow them to run up an even higher bill.  Plus the fact that the city utility combines water, sewer, & trash fees all onto one bill.  So the final bill can be worth 6 months of water, sewer, and trash charges.  That utility bill can easily be more than the deposit.  So we have to keep close tabs on it here (as several LLs are finding out.)

Last edited on Mon Mar 17th, 2008 12:06 pm by OH landlord

walandlord
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 Posted: Fri Mar 14th, 2008 05:04 am
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I'm in Washington and Water is a Public Utility and is a lienable utility.  It doesn't follow the tenant it stays with the home so becomes the responsibility of the landlord.  I call in the meter # to the water company on their last day of occupancy and they give me a final bill amount right there and it is deducted from their deposit. per our contract.

Yolanda
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 Posted: Sun Feb 24th, 2008 08:58 pm
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Thanks Joe.  I cannot imagine a utility company putting a lien on a property for non-payment.  OH LL gave F80 good advice.  In Texas this does not happen. 

joe3523
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 11:12 am
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Im in Indiana.

Yolanda
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 10:50 am
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Just curious, F80 and Joe3523, what state are you in? Thanks.

fernando80
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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 01:06 am
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thank you i was talking to people here in town and the rules  are the same i guess we live and lear

 

thanx

OH landlord
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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2008 04:42 pm
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You can also keep the water bill in your name for the next tenant, but require that they pay for the utility within 10 days of being presented the bill by you through a lease clause.  The bill stays in your name, you bill the tenant for it and can be assured that it is paid this way.  Put in the lease that the oldest debts are paid first from any monies that are recieved.  If they fail to pay the water bill within 10 days, deduct if from the next rent received.  Write a receipt showing the water bill paid, but rent still owing.  Then issue a pay or quit for the remaining rent.

This will help with the next tenant you have.  Your only choice now is to pursue the other tenants for the monies they owed you in court.

joe3523
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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2008 11:18 am
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Hello,

Where I live, the water company is the only utility that can put a lien on my property even if there is a tenant living there.  So, I pay for the water bill.  The electric and gas goes in the tenants name and the water and sewage stay in my name.  It's a very common practice here.  This should fix your problem.

Thanks

fernando80
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 Posted: Thu Feb 21st, 2008 10:59 am
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tenant didnt pay water bill to the sewer athourity and now the borough is telling me that im responsible for bill since i own the property, last tenant i had before this one the water was under my name andthe toilet started leaking and they left me a $1400 water billad now this one left the property didnt pay last month left me $3000 in damages and now i get this bill from the borough what can i do?


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