Tenant tampered with new meter--what do I do?


#1

Just installed meters my newly purchased MHP in Texas. The first read will take place later this week. One tenant (I cannot prove it) obviously tampered with the meter by removing the screws an taking the face off and the meter is reading zero.

The lots have fences and gates. the meter is along the side of the lot. It is obvious that the tenant did it but I cannot prove it.

what do I do to stop this and what are my next steps? I now have to install a new meter.

Thank you,

Pat


#2

If it’s a water meter then you can use lockable meter boxes. For electric meters you can install the wire padlock which must be broken to remove the face, or a beefier “ring lock” if you really want to prevent it.

Let all the tenants know that if these are broken then they will be liable for damages and assessed a fee using RUBS or other state-permissible calculation. Make them sign this as part of the submetering addendum that Texas requires you provide them as part of PUC requirements.

I haven’t had this problem myself, so would also probably run the above by my attorney to confirm not missing anything additional.

Keep us posted.


#3

Evict him or a very heavy fine.


#4

In our parks we have found little meter tampering, but it does happen from time to time. If you cannot prove that he did it, you do not have a basis for eviction solely based on the tampering. You can try to invoice for the broken meter, but your ability to collect depends on your lease. If you invoice and he chooses to not pay, you may lose authority. I would send a letter indicating that he is responsible for the meter and it has been tampered with, and that future incidents may result in expulsion from the park. Then if there is a future incident, I would give him 30 days notice to leave if your lease permits that. If not, I would wait for him to pay the rent one day late, then evict for non-payment of rent.


#5

Just be caution… Sometime it may not from direct tenant, it could be anyone, including rascal kids too! I have once problem past with one of my tenant tampered with sub analog type electric meter was reset to 0000 kwh and I almost evicted the honestly innocent tenant . But lucky I did caught red hand it was other neighbor kid troublemaker just messing up one more someone’s else sub meter just 3 day later and little evil kid was hoping to see my tenants get in troubles.

But here good tips: I was still able get pretty perfect of actual usages even if sub meter was tampered or damaged, I have hidden master meters was in sync with sub meter at each units. No way any my tenants could try cheat it out. But only bad are it cost lot for having double meters at different location.