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Old 10-18-2013, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Niagara Region
1,355 posts, read 1,875,994 times
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Another lesson learned - the hard way - if one of your properties has a faulty toilet-flushing mechanism and the toilet is constantly running, it can result in a water bill that's pretty much equivalent to a mortgage payment!

I'm wondering if this is something that should be highlighted in any sort of orientation document or list of rules that you give the tenant upon moving in. I have a lease but I don't think most of my tenants read leases. I suppose this is another reason for being disciplined enough to do periodic checks, inspections, walk-throughs.
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:20 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,935 posts, read 73,469,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vectoris View Post
I'm wondering if this is something that should be highlighted in any sort of orientation document
or list of rules that you give the tenant upon moving in.
Anyone who would read or understand let alone follow such doesn't need to be told to do so.
They'll hear the toilet or notice the <whatever> adjust the chain or tighten the loose thing
or oil the squeaky thing or at the least they'll tell the LL about it.


Quote:
...do periodic checks, inspections, walk-throughs.
There ya go.
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,082,568 times
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It costs a whole $11.40 for a tenant to replace the toilet flush valve themselves if they are experiencing problems with this.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Fluidmast...6#.UmGrASSCxi4

It really does not effect habitability so is not a required repair that most landlords are required by law to make. So if you are a tenant having to pay high utility bills over something so minor, take some responsibility for situation and fix it.
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:45 PM
 
90 posts, read 191,975 times
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My LL insist of fixing everything him self. We had a running toilet when we moved it and it took him 6 days to fix it. I told him right off about it and he made a big point on telling me not to fix it. After 5 days I sent him an email saying if this problem was not fixed he would be responsible for %50 of my water bill. Just like that he shows and fixes it.
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,816 posts, read 28,264,522 times
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Can you put the water bill in the tenant's name?

If not, you can give them an addendum that says if the water bill is over such and such per month, the tenant is responsible for the difference. Include information on running toilets, leaky faucets, etc.

That's what I'd do. Show them the normal bills and the bill from the running toilet, and tell them you'll pay this time, but not again.

If they're on a year lease, show them what's happening. And offer to have them sign the addendum, or you will be doing monthly inspections. That might make them sign it.

This building I manage has 26 apartments and all utilities are included, including water. When the water bill goes through the roof here, the owner knows it's somebody's toilet. So, he'll do an inspection to find the culprit.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:31 PM
 
10,050 posts, read 9,190,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Can you put the water bill in the tenant's name?

If not, you can give them an addendum that says if the water bill is over such and such per month, the tenant is responsible for the difference. Include information on running toilets, leaky faucets, etc.

That's what I'd do. Show them the normal bills and the bill from the running toilet, and tell them you'll pay this time, but not again.

If they're on a year lease, show them what's happening. And offer to have them sign the addendum, or you will be doing monthly inspections. That might make them sign it.

This building I manage has 26 apartments and all utilities are included, including water. When the water bill goes through the roof here, the owner knows it's somebody's toilet. So, he'll do an inspection to find the culprit.
I can't. I don't have separate meters. I get the water/sewer bill and split it by # of tenants. They are aware of how this is done, and the only time I had a complaint was when one unit let a toilet run without calling us or bothering to stick their hand in the tank and wiggle the flap around.

When I got the outrageous water bill I knew there was an issue. I called both sets of tenants and asked them what was going on. One set said nothing was wrong, the other said, "oh, the toilet has been running for a while". So I had to take the current quarterly bill with the previous quarterly bill, figure out the average cost per day, and charge the dummies who let their toilet run the above average daily amount. No one argued with me. I was amazed.

They didn't like it, per se, but there is a clause in my lease that states something like "if you are responsible for an increase in the cost of shared utilities and it can be proven, you will be charged for it alone and without any other unit responsible for your neglect".

This is why I don't include utilities in the rent. Keeping in mind that I only rent to college kids, if they ain't paying for it what do they care? Heat at 90F in the winter (with windows open) and the air at 60F in the summer? Lights left on 24/7? Run the dishwasher 3x a day for a few plates and two glasses? Invite all of your friends to wash their clothes at your place (I do pay for the electric/water....but they are coin operated). Wash your car and all your friend's cars in the driveway? Host a Sorority/Fraternity car wash "charity" at your place? Nope, not on my dime.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:41 PM
 
526 posts, read 1,352,815 times
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Separate the water for each unit.
It will cost something but it saves those $1000 a month surprises.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Phoenix Arizona
724 posts, read 1,736,266 times
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I am responsible for my own water bill which is already pretty high since I live in an area where water is at a premium. I have a really old toilet that uses a large amount of water with each flush. Because of this we try not to flush very often since frequent flushing obviously uses a lot of water. General rule we have is if it's just yellow then it doesn't get flushed however if it's brown it must flush down. I've mentioned to the landlord that perhaps it's time to get a new toilet that uses significantly less water but he's reluctant to replace it since it still works fine regardless of the tremendous water waste.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,816 posts, read 28,264,522 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainGuy74 View Post
I am responsible for my own water bill which is already pretty high since I live in an area where water is at a premium. I have a really old toilet that uses a large amount of water with each flush. Because of this we try not to flush very often since frequent flushing obviously uses a lot of water. General rule we have is if it's just yellow then it doesn't get flushed however if it's brown it must flush down. I've mentioned to the landlord that perhaps it's time to get a new toilet that uses significantly less water but he's reluctant to replace it since it still works fine regardless of the tremendous water waste.

Oh gosh, this brings back memories! I had a friend in 1975, back in my hippy days, and she rented this funky old house with a funky old septic system. She had a sign above the toilet that said: "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down."

Funny the things one remembers lol!
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:26 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 65,036,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Oh gosh, this brings back memories! I had a friend in 1975, back in my hippy days, and she rented this funky old house with a funky old septic system. She had a sign above the toilet that said: "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down."

Funny the things one remembers lol!
Where I live this admonition is very common and particularly in vacation rental units where, in many places, it's posted in plain view in bathrooms. I likewise had exactly the notice you describe clearly posted in my restaurant bathrooms which, like most structures here, relied on rainwater to fill the cistern. No "piped" water which is available on main routes and no onsite desalination plants which many resorts rely upon.

I could go on at length about water conservation but, staying on topic, you can reduce the water consumption from an older toilet fixture by carefully placing a regular old brick or a rock into the tank. The reduction in the amount of water in the tank reduces the amount of water available for each flush. That's the old fashioned way but you can also purchase new internal flush system fixtures really cheaply which can be adjusted to regulate the amount of water coming into the holding tank.

For those who've talked about separate metering for rental units, this isn't an inexpensive option by any stretch and in most cases isn't a viable option.
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