Problem Tenant

By admin

I need some advice.  I had given my tenant a contract to read over, which she didn’t sign, 4 years ago.  I stated in the contract that I am only prepared to pay X amount for Water, which is included in the rent.  Last Jan. I increased the rent by $50.  I did not write up a new contract, but advised her by letter.  Last month the water bill was significantly over the agreed amount that I am willing to pay.  She has refused to pay citing there may HAVE BEEN A LEAK.  I think she had been using a childs pool which is why the bill increased. Can I deduct it from her deposit?  I am in the process of writing a new contract and will ensure she signs this one. 

Edited on: Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 11:12 am

One Response to “Problem Tenant”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


November 26th, 2009 3:44 am

Hi Kay,

Tenant water problems can be lots of fun. I understand your pain. I have a property that is quite large and requires quite a bit of watering. I eventually changed the way I charged my tenants for water specifically based on the problem you’re having with your tenant’s water bill… it was a variable amount that I had NO control over.

So, what did I do? I discovered that the water company has a thing called a Landlord Agreement, which allows you to make the tenant fully responsible for the entire water costs. Without the agreement it can be quite difficult to enforce, because technically you would be responsible for the water since it is in your name.

Even though your tenant failed to sign the lease agreement, you still may be able to use that as evidence for deducting charges against his/ her deposit. If I were you I would deduct the extra amount and reference it back to the lease agreement. If the tenant puts up a fuss, you can tell them that even though you didn’t sign the agreement the agreement was implied and thus enforceable. Although, when it all comes down to it, an unsigned lease agreement is about the same thing as a verbal agreement– which is non-tangible proof.

Next time, get a landlord agreement with the water company. This will save you a ton of headache in the future.


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