Question about tenant's water bill

One of my tenants has a leak using over 3000 gallons a day ($980 in the last month). Typical water bill less than $40/mo. Our maintenance man informed them long ago they had a leak but they never fixed it and it got worse. We hired a licensed plumber to check it out and they told us the bill is going to be between $2500 to $7500. The higher number is more than the value of the trailer.

At first the tenant was uncommunicative but now they want to stay in the park. They have shut off the water and are waiting for further instructions. They are asking if they can pay the water bill over time which I will allow.

My maintenance man is not an employee of the park and does not have insurance. He does work “as needed” and will fix it for much less. He is skilled at many tasks and does a good job but is slow.

Question: If the tenant hires the maintenance man themselves to fix the leak does that release the Park from liability if something goes wrong? The park will not be involved in the transaction. I think his quote will be less than $1,000.

BTW, tenant is a slow-payer and is often late on rent. Many times they have used a non-profit to pay their rent.

My lawyer said I cannot turn off the water OR place a lien on the trailer. If I wait for the courts to evict it will take months and they can waste hundreds of thousands of gallons ($3,000+ in water bills for the Park).

Has anyone else been in a similar situation?

I think Id identify this as an EMERGENCY leak and keep it shut off. Document it all in case you need to explain it to a judge. We did after a tenant broke our meter from a dead heat tape. Judge sided with our reason. Your tenant is NEVER going to catch up on their neglected water bill. Start the eviction and if they pay it they get to stay awhile.


Either get the leak fixed yourself or shut off the water. Either way you need to evict.

1 Like

You might have some luck contacting the utility company and asking them to forgive some of the amount. Tell them about your tenant’s leak and financial situation.

Tenants Wasting Water:
Simple economics: Unless there is direct impact or cost associated with water/sewer consumption (or in your case obnoxious waste), there is no initiative to mitigate, conserve, or correct the problem.

Sub-meter the MHP, utilizing smart meters with auto alerts, get ahead of the curve before an inevitable disaster happens.

“We’re here to answer your sub-metering questions”


Yes, I asked the maintenance man to document everything. Also printed out the daily water wastage on their bill as proof to show to the judge in the event we evict. That’s a good suggestion. Thanks.

We do have smart meters installed. That’s how we know they are using 3000 gallons a day. The utility company won’t charge the tenants separate billing even though we upgraded the meters. It’s one big bill that we have to pay every month. We took over a run-down park. The utility company helped other mobile homes park in the area have separate billing for the tenants and the Park but not us. We visited the water supervisor several times and they told us they won’t do separate billing for us.

1 Like

Ok. Good idea. Will do.

Billing tenants for utilities, when the municipality won’t.

Simple solution: use a third-party billing service, in most cases their administration / billing fee is a passthrough to the tenants. (No cost owner of the MHP).


We had a tenant whose laundry room pipes leaked so bad the water went all the way down through their flooring to the end of the trailer and flooded several yards. We shut the water off at her home and let her know that it couldn’t be turned back on until she got the leak fixed. She never got it fixed and just brought water home in jugs. She eventually left and gave the home back to the park.

If you have not made the decision to move forward with the eviction you are allowing this tenant to interfere with the welfare of your community and your income. They will not likely take any action on their water being shut off if you tell them they will be evicted if they do not repair the water leak. Do not turn it back on.
If you turn it back on before the leak is repaired you are only going to lose more money until you eventually evict this tenant. They will never be able to catch up on the water bill.

Hi Greg,
We did shut off their water. But the tenants bought the water turn on/shut off key from the hardware store. Amazon also sells them for $19.99. We are now inventing ways to lock the pipe. Currently it is closed by a pipe cover. Anyone can easily remove the cover to turn on the water. We evicted some trouble makers and they came by in the middle of the night and use the key to turn on the water in 2 empty units. This issue is on going. Do you have ways to lock the covers ?

I don’t have any idea what sort of covers you have so can not advise. You need some type of temporary metal enclosure around the shit off with a strong security lock.
If the tenant in question has turned on their own water it is defiantly time to evict.
To protect the empty units you need to install an additional shutoff in the homes where the water line enters. File no trespass notices on the evicted tenants so you can have them charged if they come on the property.

If there is intentional noncooperation and they do not pay on time and are now creating not only excessive waste but a nuisance. File the papers.

The problem with this is that a home without running water is uninhabitable, as defined in most states. The problem i encountered is that tenants doing that will be using 1/2 a gallon to a gallon of water to flush a toilet, which is not enough water to move it on down the line and can result in plumbing problems.

We had a small park, and my maintenance guy would do a daily reading on the park main meter. We could tell just by looking at it if we had a leak, at which point he would eyeball individual meters and walk the water lines to find it. IF it was a tenant leak, we would shut off the water and notify them. It was then their choice if they wanted to turn water back on briefly each day to fill toilets, jugs, whatever but they had a timeframe in which they had to correct the problem or their home would be deemed uninhabitable.

Are neighbors experiencing pressure reduction? just curious.

@Loggerdon…I did not see if you indicated who owns the home, but if you own the home then you need to get it fixed. Anyone that gives you a range of $2,500-$7,500 either does not know what they are doing or is taking advantage. Get multiple bids from other contractors. Most states want licensed contractors to do plumbing work and (depending on the state) if you have to start opening walls it can get more complicated. If no one was living in the home it would be easier to have your “handyman” do the work and all you would need to obtain is Workers Comp. Doing the work by an unlicensed/uninsured contractor with someone living in the home leaves yourself open to a ton of liability.

Given the history of this tenant, I would find a licensed/insured plumbing contractor that gives you a better quote and fix the leak A.S.A.P. Tell the tenant they have to pay all back-rent and repair costs on demand they can stay or give them the required notice to move out. You can ask the tenant to give you the Title (if Applicable) in exchange for all past debts if they move out by a specific date without having to be evicted.

Another option is if you add the repair expenses to the rent due (or be evicted) sometimes subsidize agencies will cover the full amount. Again, it is all State/location specific. As I write this, it is very clear to me that your only immediate option is to get the leak fixed A.S.A.P. and then deal with the tenant secondarily.

1 Like

It appears to be a TOH which means it is the park owners option to take any direct action to repair the leak. The home owner is responsible for repairing the repair. Ideally until the home owner repairs the leak the water should remain off.
Based on the info so far there is absolutely no doubt this tenant needs to be evicted. They can not afford to live in the park.

1 Like