Hey all, I just received a letter that the city is installing a master meter for my park’s water/sewer. They will now be billing me instead of the tenants who already have city meters in their homes and are billed accordingly by the city. Is this worth hiring a lawyer to fight it? Should I get mean or play nice? Anyone with experience in this issue?
@nate , as per your post:
- “…I just received a letter that the city is installing a master meter for my park’s water/sewer. They will now be billing me instead of the tenants who already have city meters in their homes and are billed accordingly by the city. Is this worth hiring a lawyer to fight it? Should I get mean or play nice?”
My Husband and I have 2 MHPs.
One MHP has city water billed directly to the Tenants.
The other MHP has city water billed directly to us.
We much prefer the city water billed directly to the Tenants.
Thus, if it was our MHP, we would fight it.
I would offer the following suggestion:
1.) Water Company - Call - Play Nice
2.) Water Company - If No Positive Response (Like Keep The Water Billed To The Tenants) - Play Mean
3.) Water Company - If No Positive Response (Like Keep The Water Billed To The Tenants) - Hire An Attorney
I would try to resolve the issue by myself first by being nice and then mean.
If all else fails, I would hire an Attorney.
We wish you the very best!
+1 to @Kristin’s advice.
Talk to the city about their motivations to do this and understand their concerns to see if you can address them. If not, the attorney route would be merited. If you’ve been a good steward to the Park and tenants and it’s a well run community you should be able to get a candid answer from them. If it’s out of their hands then speak to the City Manager and go on up the chain until you get the information you need.
The worst case for this is that you already have city installed submeters and can bill it to your tenants accordingly, it just add some overhead which in most states you can recover when passing it along. In Texas you can charge up to a 9% management / processing / overhead fee.
Regarding the City installing one main meter, the municipal supplier most likely does not want the maintenance of the individual meters (which may actually belong to the MHP); Has investigated the water usage and determined the older individual meters are not accurate, noting older meters do not capture 100% of the usage; Reading one new meter is far easier than traversing through your MHP reading individual meters.
You can still bill the residents based on their sub-meters: If you use a third party billing service, pass through the reading/billing/collecting fees, which may actually be less than what the residents previously paid the City, (only one base fee for the one new main meter is shared now by all of your residents). In addition, the difference from the main and the individuals meters can allocated back to the residents.
Let me know if I can be of additional help.
We’re here to answer your water sub-metering questions.
If your water lines are in good shape, the city’s motivation is a money grab. They will say there are leaks in the park and a master meter is needed to ensure they get paid for every drop. In reality, they are discriminating against the park. All municipal water systems leak. A certain amount of leakage is normal. Lets assume 5%. A municipal neighborhood user doesn’t get billed for their 5% leakage as there is no place to put a master meter. But for a park, the city can increase their revenue 5% with a master meter. Easy money for them.
Image the outrage if they put a master meter in a subdivision and had a surcharge for the difference between the total of the individual meters and master meter.
If you want to shake them up, ask for documentation on how many gallons of water comes out of the purification plant verses gallons billed. The difference is leakage.
A potential proposal for your attorney is to propose they put in a meter for a two month test. If the difference between individual meters and the master i.e. leakage is comparable to the city leakage rate, there is no problem with the parks lines and they take the master out. If leaks are excessive, you are given an opportunity to correct. In either case, they continue to bill residents directly. As a concession, you might agree to leave the master meter in place to warn of a major leak in the park providing they continue to bill individually.