High water and gas bill due to HWS water leak

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Vultures, 5th Nov, 2019.

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  1. Vultures

    Vultures Well-Known Member

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    Hi folks. This is probably more a rant than a question because I just know I'll have to pay for it, BUT. Had a hot water system develop a leak which was discovered when the tenant's water and gas bills came in. Water usage went up from 60-70 litres per day to over 800. Gas usage went up 10 fold from continually heating the leaking system.
    Water system was easily accessible at the side of the house, but on grass. Plumber says it looked normal from the outside and was leaking inside and soaking away into the ground.
    Property inspection was done during this time but the agent says everything looked 'normal'.
    Tenant wants reimbursement of $500 for the bills. Of course I can't prove anything so I know I'll have to pay, but 800 litres a day is a lot of water. Is it possible to not notice this much water draining for months?
    Even if the tenant didn't see it, surely an inspection, if done properly, should have picked something up, soft soggy ground maybe? I'll eat my hat if the agent actually walked anywhere near the HWS. It's in Mandurah so with my luck, it's all sand and probably nothing short of a flood is noticeable.

    Just so annoyed. We are always out of pocket, no matter whose error it is, they never have to pay. It's always us :/
     
  2. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    Check with your water service provider - usually they have a once a year type undetected leak waiver clause/policy where they will at least waive their fee and then you only pay the state gov's bulk water charge, which is about 40% of the bill gone, which is better than nothing. I've used this in Qld with Urban Utilities on a property where a $6k bill got down to low $3k's!
     
  3. Vultures

    Vultures Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Michael. The bulk of the bills is actually the gas usage, I doubt I'll have much luck getting reimbursement for that.
     
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  4. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    Worth asking the gas company anyway.

    We got water bill cancelled by our water provider when one of our trees decided to crush a pipe with its roots, even though it was on our side of the meter.

    The Y-man
     
  5. robboat

    robboat Well-Known Member

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    I feel your pain...as other members have suggested - ask for some bill relief - they can only say no...!
    Years ago I had a IP at Willagee.
    The main water supply pipe had been damaged at some time and was slowly leaking underground.
    The only way this was found was when the pipe finally broke and a new water fountain happened in the carport.
    Lots of water - all absorbed into the sand....:eek::eek:
     
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  6. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    The PM is responsible for checking the tenant is adhering to the conditions of the lease.

    The PM routinely inspects the property to check on the tenancy, making sure the tenant is maintaining the property. It is not a building inspection, and I doubt any inspection includes more that a fairly quick look outside to check the yard and gardens are OK.

    Clearly any obvious problem would be noted, but detecting “soggy ground” in one small part of the yard is expecting a bit much.

    For this reason we always inspected our IPs personally each year. We were not interested in the tenancy, but wanted to check the overall condition of the building and fittings, looking for any looming issue that was not causing a problem but may need attention in the future.
     
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  7. mikey7

    mikey7 Well-Known Member

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    I had a leak in the front yard of one of my properties.
    Looking at the grassed area looked fine. The grass was definitely a bit more lush than the backyard, but unless you drove a car over it and saw it sink a bit (which the tenant eventually did), you'd never have really noticed.

    $890 bill. I went through the process of trying to get it waived, but UnityWater (QLD) basically said "The leak is on your side, its your issue." I got no leniency whatsoever.

    Be prepared to pay for it, but should always ask - you never know!
    (I recently got off a parking ticket, even after everyone said "no chance, don't bother")
     
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  8. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    often they only waive it if its a PPOR

    Urban utilities is one of them, I had my claim denied
     
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  9. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Well-Known Member

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  10. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Would landlord insurance cover some of the cost?
     
  11. Vultures

    Vultures Well-Known Member

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    Maybe. But this is not a random area of the yard, it's around the hot water system and I do expect the PM to have a closer look at that every now and then. I too would inspect it myself if I didn't live 4000km away.
     
  12. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    If the damage was due to some unexpected cause (lightning? struck by an object?) then possibly.
    Unfortunately most HWS leaks are due to age and deterioration which are never covered but are simply a maintenance issue.
     
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  13. qak

    qak Well-Known Member

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    But even the plumber said it looked normal from the outside! I think you are expecting too much from the PM and tenant here.
     
  14. Vultures

    Vultures Well-Known Member

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    Again, I have no proof so there's little I can do, but I have my doubts whether 800 litres per day for months 'looks normal'. The plumber has a relationship with the agent, not me... But anyway. No point. Unless the utilities are willing to reduce the bills, looks like I'm stuck with it.
     
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  15. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    We tried insurance for the balance owing after the utility providers leak deduction, however the insurer would not cover the lost water as "resultant damage" of the pipe unfortunately :p
     

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