Author Topic: High water bill in duplex  (Read 2852 times)

Stachetastic

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High water bill in duplex
« on: November 13, 2015, 07:36:49 AM »
I own a duplex that is all on one water meter, so I pay for the usage for the property. Both units are currently rented to wonderful tenants who take care of things and pay rent on time. However, in recent months, the water bill has continually increased to the point that it is regularly $150+. There is a total of 3 adults, one teen, and one child in the property. I have asked if any additional people are residing there, and have been told no. I have also asked if any leaks have been found--also no. There were some leaks in the upstairs bathroom when new tenants moved in early this year, but they reported it immediately and we fixed it right away. I suspect my downstairs tenant (also a relative) has other family members doing laundry in his unit, but I don't know if that would really make this big of an increase. Is there anything else I'm not thinking of? 

DaveR

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 08:28:57 AM »
We had a leak in the main water line, from the meter into the house. We found out when we noticed the puddle in the lawn, but the leak had been there for a little while. After the fact we realized our water usage had been creeping up for a couple of months.

I'd let your tenants know that there is some sort of leak and do an inspection, inside and out. Extra showers and laundry don't equate to skyrocketing water bills. You can also check the meter...get a reading at 9am when everyone is off to work and again at 5pm before they get home. If it's anything other than zero you have a leak somewhere.

Stachetastic

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 08:48:57 AM »
Excellent ideas, thank you. The adults work odd hours, so I'll have to see if I can catch a time when no one is home.

zinethstache

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 12:05:11 PM »
We have a duplex and one tenant kept their grass and garden lush and green this year (we had a warm dry summer). We did two things, first we alerted both tenants of the enormous bill, (the July bill) and asked that they be careful with their water consumption. Next, because these tenants are MTM with no increase in 3 years we split out their rent into two parts, the rent and then the utilities. This gives us easier wiggle room to recoup the costs of the one tenants higher water usage. - the july bill was $370 when the normal bill is $240 or so. We've seen increased each summer, but not to this extent.

In addition, we received notice of an increase in water rates happening in two phases, in June +12% and in Jan another 12%.  So we've countered that by having all new leases pay utilities separately.

It is a hassle to be sure. You do need to verify that there are no exterior leaks. Good luck!

AlwaysBeenASaver

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 07:32:36 PM »
If the rental is in a water rationed area of California, it's possible they're going over their allowance and getting a fine tacked on to their bill. Just a thought.

Mrs. PoP

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 07:59:03 PM »
We had a leak in the main water line, from the meter into the house. We found out when we noticed the puddle in the lawn, but the leak had been there for a little while. After the fact we realized our water usage had been creeping up for a couple of months.

I'd let your tenants know that there is some sort of leak and do an inspection, inside and out. Extra showers and laundry don't equate to skyrocketing water bills. You can also check the meter...get a reading at 9am when everyone is off to work and again at 5pm before they get home. If it's anything other than zero you have a leak somewhere.

We also had a leak on the main line to the house, just inches on our side of the meter.  Luckily we caught it early, and it was a pretty straightforward fix.

Stachetastic

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 07:43:44 AM »
If the rental is in a water rationed area of California, it's possible they're going over their allowance and getting a fine tacked on to their bill. Just a thought.

The rental is in Ohio, so no water rationing around these parts.

GizmoTX

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 10:02:08 AM »
Check for a toilet that needs a new flap so it constantly runs -- this will absolutely waste a lot of water. Ditto for drippy faucets.

Spork

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Re: High water bill in duplex
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 10:26:32 AM »
Check for a toilet that needs a new flap so it constantly runs -- this will absolutely waste a lot of water. Ditto for drippy faucets.

That's what I was thinking, too.

Most water meters I have are pretty sensitive.  If you can go in the house and verify "everything is off, please leave it off for 10 minutes."  Watch meter.  If you can see the spinner spinning... you have a leak.  (I have no idea if the newer RF readable meters still have a visible spinner.  We're still on manual visual reads.)