Is this legal for a landlord to charge home owners for water they are not consuming?

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Is this legal for a landlord to charge home owners for water they are not consuming?

All tenants in our mobile home park are charged with paying all the water coming into the park including the broken water mains and empty homes charged by the city for usage. Is it legal to not have water meter readings when we do have them installed in our homes?

Asked on April 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In order to answer your question, I suggest that you carefully read your presumed written lease to determine whether or not your agreement allows you to be charged for the water issues you have written about. If not, then you should not be required to pay for water used with respect to broken water mains and empty homes.

If the lease states that you are to be charged for such, I would go down to the local building and permit department and make an inquiry as to the appropriateness of such water charges. The reason is that most municipalities require separate meters for rental units to be charged for water consumption to the individual tenant.

When rentals do not have individual meters, landlords typically have a set monthly rental to the tenant that takes into the estimated costs of water usage and the tenant pays for his or her electricity used assuming there is an individual electrical meter for the rental.


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