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Tenants not paying water bills.

Discussion in 'General Property Chat' started by tomlemke, 5th Dec, 2015.

  1. tomlemke

    tomlemke Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys would love some feedback on what you think i should do?.

    I have 6 water bills for 2 property that haven't been paid, I have repeatedly asked the property manager by phone calls and emails to sort this out and i have constantly been told that they are onto it.
    I have Told them i want this issue sorted, and that i am happy for them to pay $50 a week till the out standing money has repaid.
    They have agreed to this, then when i received this fortnightly bill its literally just the rent again.

    The P.m owns quite a well respected company and posts on here regularly, any other request is always sorted out extremely quickly and rent is always paid on time for both properties.

    Water flow test by a plumber was done at the start of both these tenancy's so i could charge for the water, whole issue is quiet frustrating.

    Hopefully someone can give me advice on what to do next, these properties are both interstate so finding a decent property manager is always harder.
     
  2. Coota9

    Coota9 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  3. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    when they have agreed to do this, was it through a tribunal order?
     
  4. Beanie Girl

    Beanie Girl Well-Known Member

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    Are you with Lu Bracher, @tomlemke and one of them is a Slacks Creek property?
    I remember you saying you bought a legal height Slacks Creek property some months ago.
     
  5. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Normally arrears for water invoices are treated (in most cases) like arrears for rent, that is a breach notice is sent giving them a time frame to remedy then a tribunal order for ramification.

    Water arrears are a bit on the trickier side as a breach notice gives them an out - it states - pay up or we want vacant possession in 14 days. It's happened to us twice over the last 10 years that a tenant has walked out in the 14 day period on a $200 breach notice for water.

    Also there is a charge associated with taking it to tribunal.

    If rent is paid on time you need to consider:
    Do you want to risk losing the lease (there are lease break charges associated with vacating on a breach notice but you are still left with a vacant property)
    Is it worth paying the tribunal fee.
    Usually negotiation direct with the PM is best method with the legal notices served as second option

    We have a couple of properties on our books at the moment with some water charge disputes, the arrears are less than $500 and the landlord does not want legal notices served at this time, tenants wont pay due to $5 water lost in leaking air conditioning unit - which was fixed in 4 days and the other one has some gripe as well. These are flagged to be charged at the end of the lease through the bond - they can argue the $5 charge at tribunal then. So keeping them till later could be another option.
     
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  6. monalisa

    monalisa Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Hi @tomlemke have you set a deadline on resolving his matter?

    Has your PM given you reasons on why they aren't attending to this when they should be?
     
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  7. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    If the PM is not actioning your legitimate requirement that you have documented in writing, then have the licensee of the business deal with it immediately. If they are not able, then register a complaint with your states Department of Fair Trading.

    Personally, this is grounds for changing a PM but you may wanted to solve this first.
     
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  8. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    I feel your pain Tom, one of my units are a bit slack with water, however being a SM I keep onto it.
    I have watercorp (WA) paper billing tenants direct for use (however I'm still responsible for it).
    Via my online account I receive service & equipment charges, plus separately a copy of the usage bill sent to tenant.
    When overdue I send them weekly sms, email with pdf copy of bill attached, plus if still required onsite face to face verbal reminders during maint etc.
    I genuinely believe unless constantly reminded most people forget about any other charges to PM above their standard rent amount.
    Ideally for consistency water usage would be billed to the occupier the same way electricity and gas is.

    Thankfully I've not had to do this yet (touch wood) but is this charge added to the claim if successful?
     
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  9. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Do you have this in writing, email records?

    I went through 12 months of statements recently and found out many water bills weren't paid, even after many reminders from me via email.
    Some tenants had already vacated too with unpaid bills.
    Since I had all this documented on email, they reimbursed me $600 ish for the unpaid water bills where the tenants already left.
    If you've got it in writing, you should get your money in the end.
     
  10. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Yes it is
    Extremely unfair and we hate it as property managers but it is always a landlord cost (except when a tenant initiates a tribunal hearing) - any other matter is worn by the landlord.

    Also if there is a claim for the bond and the tenant disputes it and goes to tribunal - landlord pays the cost.

    If it's a small dispute and I know we will win, sometimes I will just pull out my credit card and pay the damn thing and keep the landlord out of it - otherwise it's not even worth it for them.
     
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  11. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Even if you do not have it in writing, unpaid invoices at vacate mean that someone dropped a ball and yes, if one of my staff did that, I would wear the cost too.
     
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  12. monalisa

    monalisa Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Our PM Principal also wears the cost where his staff stuff up - e.g. a few years ago PM at the time paid 'penalty' on strata - even though it was known to them that the strata needs to be paid before the due date, to ensure a penalty was not levied. The PM Principal refunded this to us.

    We then put an arrangement where the rent was only remitted to me once a month, to ensure sufficient funds were available to pay the strata on time.
     
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  13. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    As you've learnt just because a reminder is sent doesn't mean they automatically pay, they may think "oh yea, forgot again, I'll get onto that when I get a chance tonight", then other things (life) get in the way and they forget about it again.
    This happens to myself with certain bills, setting up DD with those I can helps.

    Renting out a property is like running a business, gotta keep on top things including your bookkeeping (accounts) at least once a month, + at end of tenancy.
    Failure to keep on top of customer accounts potentially sends a message that your slack, customers will take advantage of you, as you've learnt it will co$t you.

    When a tenant is late on water use I check (online) and remind every week until gets paid. May take a few minutes each week but it gets paid.
     
  14. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    You can't afford to not stand by your business these days.
    stuff ups happen - my gosh can things go wrong!
    The quicker you turn it around and make it right the more well your business goes - lesson to new start up business owners - what can go wrong will go wrong.

    Also Mona - yes property management software usually withholds remittance automatically if there are outstanding invoices. They possibly did not enter it quick enough - it happens - hence the refund back to you, which is nice to see.
     
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  15. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    The old, manage the manager........

    This is not an unusual thing, unfortunately. Once aware, if the PM refuses to rectify, I would find someone else if your in an area where you can do that. Otherwise you have to watch over everything, why are they not acting on this ? maybe a reason like a leak.
     
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  16. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    I wonder why the water board can't send a bill to the owner for the service charges and one to the tenant for usage...
     
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  17. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    @Biz - some states do.
     
  18. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Hard to get them to do anything but put the hand out for money.

    Trying to even get everyone to post things where you want them is almost impossible, I have one bank I have been trying to get all paperwork to only be sent to PO box and they still send some of it to elsewhere.
     
  19. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    Which ones Scott with many friends?
     
  20. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    Name and shame.
    It's the only way.