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Old 09-03-2013, 05:12 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi. I'm currently renting a house. The LL has contacted us to pay the water bill. She told us it was $70. We were shocked that the bill could possible be that high so I told her to send a copy of the bill to us. We received it today and found out that she is trying to make us pay the entire bill (Usage, Service, and Sewage). We've never encountered that at any place we've rented before. We have always paid the Usage part and the LL dealt with the rest. So I called the LL and told her that it does not say, in our lease, that we pay for Sewage Fees and Maintenance. Those two items are not checked. The items that are checked, for us to pay, are Hot and Cold water. She never told us we would be responsible for the entire bill. Of course she didn't want to hear that and she said that the lease doesn't say that and we can move out if we don't like it. She hung up on me and, when I try to call back, she yells that she doesn't want to talk about the water bill and hangs up.

My questions are:

Are we in the wrong?
Can we request to talk to the owner of the property, which the bill is in the name of?
If we send the check for the amount of the Usage, can she try to say we have breached the lease?
Can we report her for not trying to talk this situation out?
Should we pay the entire bill, this time, and try to contact the owner to settle this matter?
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,177 posts, read 9,644,098 times
Reputation: 3486
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly428 View Post
Hi. I'm currently renting a house. The LL has contacted us to pay the water bill. She told us it was $70. We were shocked that the bill could possible be that high so I told her to send a copy of the bill to us. We received it today and found out that she is trying to make us pay the entire bill (Usage, Service, and Sewage). We've never encountered that at any place we've rented before. We have always paid the Usage part and the LL dealt with the rest. So I called the LL and told her that it does not say, in our lease, that we pay for Sewage Fees and Maintenance. Those two items are not checked. The items that are checked, for us to pay, are Hot and Cold water. She never told us we would be responsible for the entire bill. Of course she didn't want to hear that and she said that the lease doesn't say that and we can move out if we don't like it. She hung up on me and, when I try to call back, she yells that she doesn't want to talk about the water bill and hangs up.

My questions are:

Are we in the wrong?
Can we request to talk to the owner of the property, which the bill is in the name of?
If we send the check for the amount of the Usage, can she try to say we have breached the lease?
Can we report her for not trying to talk this situation out?
Should we pay the entire bill, this time, and try to contact the owner to settle this matter?
Yes.. you pay the entire bill if the lease states that tenant is responsible for water bill.

You can't send a check just for usage. Your payment will be credited in the following order.

[LEFT]1. Penalties and Interest (if any)
2. SWMS charge (storm water management service)
3. Sewer charge[/LEFT]
4. Water charge
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:38 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
It doesn't state, in plain terms, that the tenant is responsible for the 'water bill'. There are options that are listed and checked off of what the tenant has to pay. Hot Water is checked, Cold Water is checked, but Sewage Fees is not checked nor Sewer Maintenance.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,177 posts, read 9,644,098 times
Reputation: 3486
There are actual checkboxes in your lease for "Sewage Fees" and "Storm water service"?
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:18 PM
 
434 posts, read 1,153,281 times
Reputation: 278
You should pay the entire "water bill," even if every line item of the water bill isn't specifically spelled out in your lease.

Some municipalities send sewer bills separate from water bills, but I don't think this is the norm. For example Nether Providence township (which maintains its own sewer system) includes a sewer charge in its tax bill (flat rate, not usage based), but water charges - and I don't recall the specific line items - are from AQUA. If this were the case where you are, I think you could make a good case to only pay the AQUA charges ("water bill"). But thats different than splitting hairs about the mandatory line items on a single water bill, which I believe is what you described.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:56 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
Our bill is broken down into 3 charges: Usage - Service - Stormwater(Sewage and storm drain combined). As I've said before, we have been renting houses for over a decade and have never encountered having to pay anything other than the Usage charge. That is normal. Even the charge itself is around what we've paid before (Max $50 but current charge is $44.31). It might seem like I'm splitting hairs but over the course of our lease, I would have paid an extra $309 that I shouldn't have to pay because it's not in the lease that I have to.

Tenants get caught paying money for things they've missed on a lease all the time. This time, it's the landlord who messed up and I won't be the one to pay for it, they will. Normally I would just pay the money instead of going through the crap but there are other issues to go along with this situation and this is a little win for us.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:02 PM
 
8 posts, read 23,180 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sj08054 View Post
There are actual checkboxes in your lease for "Sewage Fees" and "Storm water service"?
Yes. It's on the list of Utilities and Services section of the lease.

Cooking Gas - X
Electricity - X
Heat - X
Hot Water - X
Cold Water - X
Trash Removal
Sewage Fees
Sewer Maintenance
Lawn and Shrubbery Care - X
Heater Maintenance Contract

The ones with 'X' are what we pay.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:02 PM
 
434 posts, read 1,153,281 times
Reputation: 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly428 View Post
Tenants get caught paying money for things they've missed on a lease all the time. This time, it's the landlord who messed up and I won't be the one to pay for it, they will. Normally I would just pay the money instead of going through the crap but there are other issues to go along with this situation and this is a little win for us.
Okay. Sounds like you really just came here for someone to validate your existing position. Sorry I wasn't willing or able to do that for you. Good luck.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:17 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista
2,472 posts, read 3,487,882 times
Reputation: 2202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly428 View Post
Yes. It's on the list of Utilities and Services section of the lease.

Cooking Gas - X
Electricity - X
Heat - X
Hot Water - X
Cold Water - X
Trash Removal
Sewage Fees
Sewer Maintenance
Lawn and Shrubbery Care - X
Heater Maintenance Contract

The ones with 'X' are what we pay.
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.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:33 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
2,377 posts, read 2,696,447 times
Reputation: 1492
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.
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