Landlord & Tenants Information
What has changed after July 1, 2009 concerning who is responsible for paying utility bills?
Prior to July 1, 2008, the City allowed utility bills to be put in the tenant’s name; the County required accounts to be in the name of the property owner. According to CFPUA ordinance, the Authority required new utility accounts to be in the name of the property owner. That ordinance has been changed. Effective July 1, 2009, the Authority will allow property owners to decide whether to retain control over new accounts for tenant-occupied properties or transfer responsibility to the tenant.
When will accounts currently in the property owner’s name be allowed to transition to the tenant?
Existing accounts for tenant occupied property that are currently billed to the property owner may transition after January 1, 2010. The property owner will retain responsibility for utility services until CFPUA accepts the tenant’s application for new service. Be reminded that property owners have the option for new accounts established after July 1, 2009 to be put in the tenant’s name.
How will a property owner transfer responsibility for utilities to the tenant?
When a property owner completes an application for new service, there will be a place for the owner to mark whether or not responsibility for utility charges will be retained by the property owner. For owners who already have an account set up, a separate election form is available. During new account set up or the initial transition after January 1, 2010 when property owners first elect to transfer responsibility to the tenant, there will be no charge to the property owner. The tenant will be responsible for the $55 new service fee and payment of any deposit required.
Can a property owner subsequently change or revoke an election to transfer utilities to or from the tenant?
A property owner may change or revoke the decision to retain the bill or transfer it to the tenant by completing another election form or notifying CFPUA in writing. If the property owner wishes to change the responsibility for payment from the tenant back to the owner before the tenant moves out, a $55 new service fee will be assessed to cover the cost of any necessary extra meter readings or bill preparation.
What will be done about County accounts established prior to and unchanged since consolidation where the water is in the tenant’s name and the sewer in the property owner’s name?
Both components of that account will be transitioned on the same schedule, either when the account changes tenancy or after January 1, 2009 if the property owner elects to transfer billing to the tenant. However, when the owner makes the election to either accept or transfer responsibility, the same party must be responsible for all services.
What will the costs be if the service is transferred to the tenant’s name?
The tenant will be responsible for paying the standard new service fee of $55 and a $200 deposit unless that tenant can supply evidence of good credit. If the existing account has been paid in a timely manner, CFPUA will accept a letter from the landlord affirming the tenant was the party providing the payments as evidence of good credit.
What happens when a tenant moves out and the apartment is vacant?
Once notified that a property is vacant, the property owner then becomes responsible for the fixed charges and any consumption that may occur after notification of vacancy. The property owner may request that the water be turned off, in which case CFPUA meter readers will turn the water off when they visit the premises to read the meter . Turning water off to a vacant property will help prevent damage that may be caused by undiscovered leaks, frozen pipes, or unauthorized water use. A $55 fee will apply each time the meter reader visits the premise to turn the water back on or off. If the property will remain vacant for some time, the owner should call CFPUA to also stop trash services. There will be no charges from Solid Waste if trash cans are removed from vacant premises. Stormwater fees may not be suspended or terminated.
Will utility charges apply when the property is vacant?
The fixed meter fees and any storm water charges will continue to apply. Unless stopped by notifying CFPUA, trash collection fees will also appear on your CFPUA bill during this period of vacancy.
Why are fixed costs charged for a property even during vacancy?
Fixed meter fees have been assessed to cover the large fixed costs of operating and maintaining the extensive capital facilities. The same debt service on the lines must be paid regardless of the volume of water flowing through the pipes. These charges represent the water and sewer capacity which is reserved for the residence.
What if I have other questions?