Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Landlord Is Now Responsible for Collecting Water Bills

Water Authorities in the State of Virginia

New Water and Sewer Delinquent Payment bill has been passed that now requires landlords to be bill collectors for the Water Authority. If the tenant caused damage to your property in excess of your deposit as many do, you now will be forced to give the Water Authority first dibs on your security deposit in order to not get a lien placed on your property. Whatever damage beyond their water bill will come out of the landlords pocket because as we all know, most tenants won't pay a judgment.

WATER AND SEWER DELINQUENT PAYMENT - House Bill 407 (Delegate Glenn Oder). As a component of the annual update of the Virginia landlord / tenant changes, this measure provides that if the landlord has not received the final water, sewer or other utility bill for the dwelling unit within the 45-day period, the landlord may provide written notice to the tenant that a portion of the security deposit is being held pending settlement of the water, sewer or other utility account, after which settlement, the landlord shall refund any remaining balance within 10 days.

Many localities or their Water and/or Sewer Authorities have the ability to place liens on property (owners) for delinquent water and sewer charges. That same authority applies to rental units. Meaning, many property owners are being required to pay the delinquent water and sewer bills for tenants that vacate their rental property. Often such bills are received long after an apartment or rental home is vacated and the delinquent charges can be substantial. This constitutes a balanced approach to this statewide issue and will allow landlords protection from such charges while providing the mechanism for payment of outstanding fees by the appropriate responsible party.


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