Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Western Virginia Water Authority Exposed

Water Authorities in the State of Virginia

Landlords in the Roanoke area are being attacked by the Water Authority who has managed to get bills passed that make the landlord (a third party with no actual benefit to the service) directly responsible for up to 3 months of unpaid bills by the tenant. If the landlord contacts the Water Authority to determine whether the tenant has been keeping up with their bills, the answer is they will not disclose that information. Based on information from landlords that this has already happened to, the landlord will find out when liens are placed on their property, and by then the tenant very well likely is no where to be found.

This is a direct attack intended to punish landlords for their tenants misdeeds from this quasi government authority.

Below are copies of the bills and information pertaining to who wrote the bills. Please take a few minutes of your time to contact those who passed these bills and nicely ask them what we can do to resolve this issue. Also contact your local state legislature. There is a link below to find out who they are. Lets all take the friendly diplomatic angle first before taking this issue to a higher level if necessary.

In addition to friendly communication with Virginia state legislatures, we are also working on putting together the specific issues at hand in a format that we can all agree to, to present to the board of directors of the Water Authority. We can possibly agree with them on a fair resolution where landlords, in no way, will end up stuck with a water bill that they did not create and where we are also never put in a position of being a forced water bill collection agent for the Water Authority.

Virginia Code § 15.2-5139 - Lien for charges
Passed from HB2247 of the 2009 Session
Patron— Democrat William K. Barlow (Bill) of Richmonds 64th district (757) 356-0303

_ 15.2-5139. Lien for charges.
A. There shall be a lien upon real estate for the amount of any fees, rents or other charges by an authority to the owner or lessee or tenant of the real estate for the use and services of any system of the authority by or in connection with the real estate from the time when the fees, rents or charges are due, and for the interest which may accrue thereon. Such lien shall be superior to the interest of any owner, lessee or tenant of the real estate and rank on a parity with liens for unpaid real estate taxes. An authority may contract with a locality to collect amounts due on properly recorded utility liens in the same manner as unpaid real estate taxes due the locality. A lien for delinquent rates or charges applicable to three or fewer delinquent billing periods not exceeding thirty days each may be placed by an authority if the authority or its billing and collection agent (i) has advised the owner of such real estate at the time of initiating service to a lessee or tenant of such real estate that a lien will be placed on the real estate if the lessee or tenant fails to pay any fees, rents or other charges when due for services rendered to the lessee or tenant; (ii) has mailed to the owner of the real estate a duplicate copy of the final bill rendered to the lessee or tenant at the time of rendering the final bill to such lessee or tenant; and (iii) employs the same collection efforts and practices to collect amounts due the authority from a lessee or a tenant as are employed with respect to collection of such amounts due from customers who are owners of the real estate for which service is provided.
B. The lien shall not bind or affect a subsequent bona fide purchaser of the real estate for valuable consideration without actual notice of the lien until the amount of such fees, rents and charges is entered in a judgment lien book in the office where deeds may be recorded in the locality in which the real estate or a part thereof is located. The clerk in whose office deeds may be recorded shall make and index the entries therein upon certification by the authority, for which he shall be entitled to a fee of two dollars per entry, to be paid by the authority and added to the amount of the lien. The authority shall give the owner of the real estate notice in writing that it has made such certification to the clerk.
C. The lien on any real estate may be discharged by the payment to the authority of the total lien amount, and the interest which has accrued to the date of the payment. The authority shall deliver a certificate thereof to the person making the payment. Upon presentation of such certificate, the clerk having the record of the lien shall mark the entry of the lien satisfied, for which he shall be entitled to a fee of one dollar.
(Code 1950, _ 15-764.25; 1950, p. 1327; 1958, c. 97; 1962, c. 623, _ 15.1-1263; 1976, c. 243; 1983, c. 422; 1987, c. 307; 1993, c. 383; 1994, cc. 599, 602; 1997, c. 587.)

Virginia Code § 15.2-5124 - Delinquent payment of rates and charges
Passed from HB 2563 of the 2005 Session

Both of these bills passed unanimously and our local Onzlee Ware was a member. (540) 344-7410 Roanoke district 11
Patrons—Republican Danny W. Marshall. Of the 14th district Danville- (804) 698-1014

Democrat Ward Armstrong of the 10th district, Patrick County- or 804-698-1010

And “Conservative” Republican Robert Hurt - email: 434-432-4600

15.2-5124. Delinquent payment of rates and charges.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if the use of any water or sewer system is contracted for by an occupant who is not the owner of the premises and such occupant's premises are separately metered for service, the owner of any such premises shall be liable only for the payment of delinquent rates or charges applicable to three delinquent billing periods, which together shall not exceed a period of ninety days. No authority shall refuse service to other premises of the owner not occupied by someone who is delinquent in the payment of such rates or charges on account of such delinquency provided that such owner has paid in full any delinquent charges for which he is liable. No authority shall refuse service to or unreasonably delay reinstatement of service to premises vacated by a delinquent occupant if a new party has applied for service, provided the owner of the premises has paid in full all delinquent charges for which he is liable.
(Code 1950, _ 15-764.12; 1950, p. 1318; 1954, c. 554; 1958, cc. 400, 402; 1960, c. 430; 1962, cc. 130, 623, _ 15.1-1250; 1968, cc. 355, 556; 1970, cc. 444, 617; 1972, c. 161; 1979, c. 280; 1980, c. 159; 1981, c. 610; 1983, c. 422; 1984, c. 554; 1994, c. 477; 1997, c. 587.)

Democrat Virginia Senator Roscoe Reynolds also had part in previous bills that lead to these. District 20 of Martinsville (276) 638-2315

To contact your local Virginia State legislature to write a bill and change this law, go here:
Type in your address and find out who your local Delegate and Senator are. Delegates and Senators are different depending on where you live in Roanoke or Greater Roanoke.
Democrat Onzlee Ware (804) 698-1011

and Republican William Heywood Cleaveland (Bill) (804) 698-1017
are the delegates around Roanoke.

I think John Edwards (Democrat of district 21) (804) 698-7521 is the senator for the whole area.

Republican Morgan Griffith is the delegate for Salem (804) 698-1008

and Republican Ralph K. Smith is the Senator for Salem (804) 698-7522

So it depends greatly on where you live to get your local politician……. We WILL NOT change anything unless we actually ask our representatives to implement legislation to end this unconstitutional therefore illegal activity. If we need to get together and WRITE THE BILL for them we should be willing to do so. As I understand, that’s the way it works. The first step is to contact them and offer to do so or ask what they intend to do to resolve this issue if anything at all.


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