Water Issue - Tenant running water? Help!

Our park in Kentucky saw a sudden and astronomical jump in water usage last month and its continuing on a daily basis. Nearly triple the daily average. There has not been a freeze lately and there have never been water bills remotely close to this high. We have done initial reviews of the property and don’t detect any major leaks but we have American Leak Detection coming out to verify. The issue is centralized to one of our meters that reads 14 homes. We’ve monitored the water usage the last week and done a series of shutting off certain houses for some process of elimination to see if its specific to certain homes. We are highly suspicious that one or two of our tenants are running water maliciously (as they are both being evicted). One in particular won’t allow us to access their shut off valve on the property to test. He is disgruntled and has been causing problems, spreading rumors, not signing leases, etc. Has anyone had this be the case and what was done about it or can be done now to “stop the bleeding” so we don’t acquire water bills this high? It’s increasing rapidly, approaching over $10k.

Are you on city water or septic?

If you are on Septic you could make the argument that you had to shut off his water for health and safety reasons as he may flood the septic system.

I would give him a 72 hour notice to fix the problem or you will turn off his water. He is sabotaging your business. Definitely call an attorney before you shut off his water. You don’t want to mess up your eviction.


Under ordinary circumstances you are not allowed to shut off the water of a tenant. If you do, it would be considered an illegal self help eviction.

However if there is an emergency (e.g. water leak) you are allowed to shut off the water without notice to repair the leak.

I would turn off the water to the affected home. Likely, the tenant will turn the water back on if they have the capability to do so. I would visit the home 3 to 4 times per day and turn off the water again and again. This will be a constant battle with you turning off the water and the tenant turning on the water, but it will minimize your bleeding.

Your lease should have a clause that says tenants cannot abuse utility usage. If you have this clause then you should not have any issue in front of the judge by constantly turning off the water. But, as SDGuy commented, be sure you are keeping your attorney advised.

I am sorry to say that tenant sabotage is a huge risk and the best that you can do is to minimize your damages until you can remove the tenant from the property.


Thank you @mPark , really appreciate it!

Thank you @SDGuy, super helpful! Really appreciate it


Sub-metering utilizing smart meters will provide real time data:
Smart Sub-meters with Auto Alerts by text or email:

  • Leak detection,
  • Continuous use,
  • Abnormal use,
  • High use,
  • Freeze warnings,
  • No use (skips).

The meters can be installed anywhere on the water service lines.
Sub-metering; easily and affordably reduces water usage by 25 to 35%.

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


Good advice by everyone above.

We own 5 parks in KY and I live in northern KY, happy to help in any way possible now or in the future. milesnoland859@gmail.com


you could install a locking ball valve that has small holes through the sides of the ball. That way you could shut it off “mostly” so they can still get water to survive, just not a fast flow rate. I do not know the legality of this, but it seems reasonable to me. check with assuredautomation.com They have helped me with many specialty valve and metering solutions in the past.

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In some states you cannot limit the water. I would check with local laws before restricting the supply to a trickle.

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I hope your issue has been resolved by now, but if not… I think “one in particular” gives themselves away:

Our resident’s lease speaks to this:

  1. Inspection/Maintenance. MHP (Landlord) shall have the right to enter the Premises to inspect and maintain equipment, appliances, and safety conditions on or about the Premises. In addition, MHP shall have the right to enter the Premisses (1) for purposes related to a sale of the Home or the Community, or (2) in the event of an emergency, as reasonably determined by MHP. MHP shall give advance notice of such entry to Resident whenever possible; provided, however, that no notice need be given in the event of an emergency.

It is my understanding that if a tenant has been given a lease to sign but he or she chooses not to sign it, but they stay in the park or make a payment, that the lease would likely be upheld in court, especially if it is a standard lease for the park.

Good luck with the next challenge - the eviction!

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