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Old 09-04-2013, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista
2,472 posts, read 3,487,341 times
Reputation: 2202

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
When I used to rent rooms I remember the water bill was always about ~35 per person in the house. There was no way around this.
Did you fill an Olympic swimming pool every day? Your water bill should not be that high. I just pay the entire water bill in my building, there are 5 apts with a total of 8 people living there, the bill is generally 60-80 a month or less than 10 a person. I can't imagine how much water you would have to use to get a bill that high.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,177 posts, read 9,642,473 times
Reputation: 3486
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillies2011 View Post
I don't know what these other two are talking about. As both a tenant for 10 plus years and a landlord for 2 it is standard practice for the landlord to pay these fees. If your landlord wanted you to pay these additional fees then she should have indicated as such in your lease.

You're totally in the right.
I am a landlord in Philadelphia and can tell you that I don't pay the water bill for any of my rental. It's clearly stated in my leases that tenant will pay the water bill. I even provide permission letter along with the lease for the tenant to go to PWD and put the bill in their name. The scenerio OP posted is weird because that's a dumb way for landlord to put down who is responsible for what. In this case, OP would probably win in court because it is not clear in the lease. When it's not clear, it will go in favor of the tenant.

FYI... it's bad practice for landlord to pay water bill because leaks will not be report since tenants are not the one paying the bill.

For multi unit dwelling, landlords adjust the rent to include the water since it doesn't have separate meters.

$70 sounds like the typical 5-6 people usage bill. Most of my tenants bills are in the $40-$50 range for the 3 bedroom home.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,177 posts, read 9,642,473 times
Reputation: 3486
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillies2011 View Post
Did you fill an Olympic swimming pool every day? Your water bill should not be that high. I just pay the entire water bill in my building, there are 5 apts with a total of 8 people living there, the bill is generally 60-80 a month or less than 10 a person. I can't imagine how much water you would have to use to get a bill that high.
A typical water bill for during renovation (no one living there)

Usage (ccf) = 1

Bill:

Usage Charges $5.50
Service Charge $11.36
Stormweater $12.71

That's almost a $30 bill when there is almost not usages.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:54 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sj08054 View Post
I am a landlord in Philadelphia and can tell you that I don't pay the water bill for any of my rental. It's clearly stated in my leases that tenant will pay the water bill. I even provide permission letter along with the lease for the tenant to go to PWD and put the bill in their name. The scenerio OP posted is weird because that's a dumb way for landlord to put down who is responsible for what. In this case, OP would probably win in court because it is not clear in the lease. When it's not clear, it will go in favor of the tenant.

FYI... it's bad practice for landlord to pay water bill because leaks will not be report since tenants are not the one paying the bill.

For multi unit dwelling, landlords adjust the rent to include the water since it doesn't have separate meters.

$70 sounds like the typical 5-6 people usage bill. Most of my tenants bills are in the $40-$50 range for the 3 bedroom home.
I would have to dig through our files, but I can pull almost every residential lease we have signed and they all have a section with utilities and services that the tenant is responsible for and the landlord is responsible for. Nothing weird or dumb about it. I would want to know who is responsible for what. Why would I wait for something to come up and have to talk to the landlord to see who has to take care of it, when I would know from the start because it is in my lease. It makes any future problems avoidable and makes the relationship between landlord and tenant stress free (except in my case, where we have a landlord who doesn't understand their own lease). Any lease that didn't have a list similar to this, I wouldn't sign.

As far as you saying that a tenant will not report a leak to you because they don't have to pay the bill, those are just bad tenants. We have been in a couple places where we didn't pay water and we always reported leaks. Why would you want a leak in your residence? That's just ghetto, on the tenants part. But I can still see your logic for leaving that responsibility to the tenant.

You would be correct in the usage cost ranges you said. That's why we have never paid over $50 at any house we've lived at. There's four of us and we like to take long showers and such, heh. That's why when she said $70, we were shocked. No way we could rack up that much in usage charges but, as I said, she wants us to pay the whole bill.

PhillyviaBoston:

I was not seeking validation, I was seeking advice. You gave yours, I appreciate it, but I don't agree with it. There's no problem with that. I thank you for taking the time to respond.

To everyone else who has responded, thank you very much. Reading the different responses from people has helped quite a bit. I even talked to my union lawyer today, which was the deciding factor. If I would have talked to her yesterday, I wouldn't have even posted on the forums but the situation happened in the evening and it was too late to call. It was good to see how other people think though. Anyway, thanks again for giving me your time. Peace.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,177 posts, read 9,642,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly428 View Post
I would have to dig through our files, but I can pull almost every residential lease we have signed and they all have a section with utilities and services that the tenant is responsible for and the landlord is responsible for. Nothing weird or dumb about it. I would want to know who is responsible for what. Why would I wait for something to come up and have to talk to the landlord to see who has to take care of it, when I would know from the start because it is in my lease. It makes any future problems avoidable and makes the relationship between landlord and tenant stress free (except in my case, where we have a landlord who doesn't understand their own lease). Any lease that didn't have a list similar to this, I wouldn't sign.

As far as you saying that a tenant will not report a leak to you because they don't have to pay the bill, those are just bad tenants. We have been in a couple places where we didn't pay water and we always reported leaks. Why would you want a leak in your residence? That's just ghetto, on the tenants part. But I can still see your logic for leaving that responsibility to the tenant.

You would be correct in the usage cost ranges you said. That's why we have never paid over $50 at any house we've lived at. There's four of us and we like to take long showers and such, heh. That's why when she said $70, we were shocked. No way we could rack up that much in usage charges but, as I said, she wants us to pay the whole bill.

PhillyviaBoston:

I was not seeking validation, I was seeking advice. You gave yours, I appreciate it, but I don't agree with it. There's no problem with that. I thank you for taking the time to respond.

To everyone else who has responded, thank you very much. Reading the different responses from people has helped quite a bit. I even talked to my union lawyer today, which was the deciding factor. If I would have talked to her yesterday, I wouldn't have even posted on the forums but the situation happened in the evening and it was too late to call. It was good to see how other people think though. Anyway, thanks again for giving me your time. Peace.
I feel that the lease is weird for Philadelphia because PWD bills include those extra charges. It doesn't make sense to have separate check box in a lease and check certain ones when a single statement such as "tenant responsible for water bill" under utilities. Having a lease that is not clear will only result with tenant like yourself questioning it and like I said, you will most likely win your case. This is a problem I see with landlord using standard templates with more things than necessary.

As for leaks. I am not referring to wet floor. Common leaks with high usage faucets, toilets, showers results in drips or bad float valve. When those don't get reported, water bills rises. My rentals are in South Philly and I guess some may call them ghetto but they are family residence. Even with my tenants paying the water bill, I keep my eyes on their usages.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:46 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
Ok, I get what you are saying about the lease templates. Even still, I am more comfortable with specifics. I have the feeling that you are a more responsible landlord and are more detail specific anyway. Even if you did have a lease template that we are used to, every detail would be hammered out ahead of time and not rushed just so you can get a tenant living in your property. That is what ours did and now is upset because of the missed a detail. If she would have acted mature and was willing to compromise I would have taken on the Usage and Service fees, which would have left them with just $13.45(Sewage) of the bill to pay. That would have been fair.

I know what kind of leaks you meant. As a responsible tenant, I would report things like that. I didn't mean that the area or your properties were ghetto. I meant that if someone is willing to have their faucets/showers leaking or toilets running, they are ghetto. In my opinion, ghetto is a state of mind, not the area you live in. I've lived in some of the dirties places in Philly and had my home comfortable and clean.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,177 posts, read 9,642,473 times
Reputation: 3486
This is the exact wording I have in my Philly lease under utilities.

"Tenant is responsible for the following utilities andservices: Electricity, Water and Gas and is required to register the utilitiesand services in Tenant’s name. Tenantunderstand and agrees that essential services are to be maintained andoperational at all times."

I also include a page with the utitlities service name, address and phone number for them to contact for service.

I am never questioned about what that means. I am pretty anal when it comes to the lease. My lease package is 30+ pages. I gues if you are doing lots of properties, one may not be as detailed. I include things such as Partners for Good Housing and Lead Information.

I believe in trying to keep the tenant/landlord relationship balanced. One party shouldn't feel the other is taking advantage of them in one way or another. I also don't believe in nickel and dime stuff.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:47 AM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
I would understand that language. It just says 'Water', not a broken down version of the bill. That's why I said that I understood what you meant about the list breaking down the different sections of a water bill and that it shouldn't be that way. But like you said, a lot of landlords do have leases like that.

I also believe in keeping he relationship balanced but our landlord is taking advantage of us. I mentioned that there were other things associated with this situation but didn't go into details. Actually, I will have to respond again later, heh, time for me to go to work. But don't have it in your mind that we are nickel and dimming this. There are reasons why we are going about this situation the way we are. Explanation to follow later.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:48 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
Well, the landlord and the owner called and kindly asked if we could pay the entire bill because they never changed the lease accordingly with the change of how the water bill is split. I agreed to pay as long as the repairs that were promised to us, when we first moved in, were done before the next bill is ready. If they would have made good on their promises and maturely talked to us when this situation started, this would not have escalated my feelings of the situation. I would have understood about the outdated lease template and just paid the bill. Sheesh! Well, the owner said she is calling their repair guy today and have everything set up for next week. Lets see if it happens. I'll update then.

I guess you were right, sj08054, about the template part for houses. They should have updated with the times. Anyway, thanks for the great discussion. Peace.
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