Author Topic: Management company charging me for overage in water bill (only one shared meter)  (Read 782 times)

TravelTrails

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I have a situation in which I’d appreciate your feedback. I have a condo in a multi-unit building that I rent out. The water meter is shared by everyone in the building and the water bill is included in the HOA fees. It’s possible that my toilet had some leakage (the plumber I called could not find anything wrong but the HOA visited the day before and found the toilet periodically running—I was not onsite and tenants said they did not hear any water before the HOA visit). The management company is charging me for the overage in water bill for the month which amounts to roughly $1K.

I don’t have a problem paying whatever my share is but there’s no way to determine what my share is since there’s only one water meter. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

waltworks

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How many units are in the HOA? It has got to be HUGE if you are getting $1000 water bills (and that's just for the *excess*?!?) Which would suggest that there's no way one leaky toilet (even if running the entire month) could cause the problem by itself.

If it's a small number of units, on the other hand, your toilet could theoretically have pushed the total usage up for the month - but still not by $1000!

Something doesn't make sense about the whole situation here. But your only real recourse is to talk to the HOA.

-W

TravelTrails

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Thanks for your feedback, W. There are about 19 units in the building so not a huge one. I've talked to the HOA and they are insisting that it's my unit that caused the overage for that month.

Miss Piggy

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Wait...are you saying the entire bill is about $1,000, or the OVERAGE is $1,000? No effing way a single toilet could leak enough to cause an increase of $1,000. No. Effing. Way.

waltworks

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We need more background info here. How much does the entire HOA pay per month normally? How many gallons total get used?

It strikes me as simply impossible to use $1000 worth of city water with a single toilet, even if you were *trying* to, anywhere in the United States. I don't know much about water rates in other countries but I'd have a hard time believing you could pull it off anywhere else either.

-W

Finallyunderstand

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My toilet leaked for about a week straight before I finally fixed it.  I think my water bill was about $15 higher than normal.  As others have said, no way one toilet could account for $1000.  I smell something fishy.

MrMoogle

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Your share would still be $50!  That's still crazy.

TravelTrails

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Thanks a lot for all of your feedback. I had to do some digging to find some of the information. As far as I can tell from about a couple of years of bills, there's a pretty wide range of monthly water costs from about $300/month to $1,500/month. The month in question was about $2,400. And yes, they are saying that I need to pay the amount over the normal monthly water cost.

I read the HOA legal documents and they indicate that since there's a single meter for the whole building, it's a shared common expense amongst all of the owners. I don't know if this is enough to say that they can't charge me anything beyond what I already pay in HOA fees because it's a common expense? Maybe I need to talk to someone to get some legal advice.

PS, I don't know why they didn't put in separate water meters for each unit at the beginning...this seems ridiculous to have one meter for the entire building!

Miss Piggy

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Any chance that $2400 water bill included an unpaid balance from the previous month/billing period?

I simply would not pay it in your situation. They cannot prove that one unit (yours or anyone else's) is responsible for the increase.

Also, see what next month's bill is...maybe there's an ongoing issue with the meter or a major leak somewhere. But that's a crap ton of water for a bill that high.

Pootie22

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If you are not individually meter there is no possible way the HOA can "calculate" that your overage alone was $1,000 and you have to pay that.
Do you get a refund when you leave your condo for a month long vacation and not use any water?
Do they have any way of knowing that the sprinklers were left on for too long?
Or someone else ran their washing machine, dishwasher or had a bunch of family over taking baths? There is just no way of knowing and therefore they can't just assume it was you and charge you.

The burden of proof is on them, I wouldn't pay it unless they could prove it. And even then it seems wrong considering many other tenant possibly have used more water in 1 month but it was offset by another tenant using less water. Unless they are refunding you when you use little water I don't think they should be charging you when they THINK you used more water.