I have a park in PA that I purchased a little more than a year ago. When I purchased the community it was completely direct billed water, sewer, and trash. It had been that way for decades, since it was built.
Then a few months ago, the Township gave me only 30 days notice and switched it to master meter water/sewer and billed me for trash. Is this legal (yes I will also ask an attorney)? Does anyone have any experience with something like this? If so, any advice?
Seems like a giant step backward for you and the park. I would contact the city ASAP to see if you can determine why this was done. It could be that meters were failing and they saw this as an easy way out, or they were not collecting enough payment from tenants to cover the water volume passing through your main meter(s). In any case, contact them to determine what the issue is, and how to better address the real or perceived problem. I wouldn’t get the attorney involved just yet, see what you can find out first.
I recently converted a park from master meter to direct billing for tenants. The city was was ready, willing and able to help with the process and very much encouraged it. I do get a bill each month for water loss (difference between the main meter volume measured and the total of the tenants usage), it runs about 12% of total water usage currently. We had about 10% of the tenants using much more water than the others, causing elevated cost for all. Monthly cost for tenants went from $60 per month paid to me to about $30 on average with direct billing. And the city was happy as this helped with their water conservation programs. They are now requiring all parks in the city to convert to individual meters.
Good luck. Let us know what the issue was with the city prompting the change.
RE: City says “No more master meter”
The municipal utility supplier has decided:
- The individual MHP’s meters are past their accuracy life (old meters lose low flow water usage);
- Not economical to read/maintain/ service many individual meters within your MHP;
- One new master meter will generate more revenue to the Township (and cost the MHP overall more).
We have seen this happen numerous times, and is becoming the norm in many areas around the US.
Possible short term solutions:
- Immediately notify the residents that due to the Township’s decision (include correspondence from the Township) they will be paying the manger directly for their water/sewer service.
- The old individual meters can be read manually and billed by the manager (the usage will not equal the new more accurate master meter) ;
- Use a third party billing service, manager reads and supply the service the raw readings for billing;
- Start a switch out of the old meters for new RF meters, manager will not have to read the meters;
Of course you can just raise rents by the offset of the utilities, but you will always be playing catch up with the escalating utility expenses. Noting, When tenants pay for their own water/sewer they use 25 to 35% less.
“We’re her to answer your sub-metering questions”