I'm renting a house, and I'm responsible for the water bill.  Yesterday the water company showed up because our account was flagged for...?

...going from around 6,000 galloons per month over 160,000 gallons last month.  Turns out we have a busted main pipe down by the road, and there was no way we could tell.  Water pressure never waned and you couldn't actually see any water leaking above ground.  So the owner is on top of it; he's having the pipe fixed/replaced ASAP.  When the repair is done and our monthly water bill is due I'm told I can apply for an adjustment on the bill based on them knowing we obviously didn't use that water.  But I don't know what that adjustment will be.  So, if the adjustment only wipes out part of this massive bill, who will be on the hook for the remainder, minus the average 6,000 gallons per month we normally use? I live in California.

Thanks!

12 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    I just went through this issue.  You are responsible for the water YOU USE.  The way they check this is that you got a water meter attached to the house connected to the cold water line which is the street main.  The water pipe goes underground and is connected to your water line that goes under the concrete of the house and pops through the floor into a meter for your house .  It is then in all the piping in the house.   

    .  Sometimes those connections break free (say after 30 years and the water is now leaking into the ground under the house. You may hear the noise of rushing water or you may not.   Once you got water showing up in the basement, or on the concrete floor and there has not been flooding or heavy rain, then the water is coming from a leaking connection.   Usually that is covered under most house insurance plans. Or, at least 2/3's of the cost to reconnect again.

    .   As for the water utility noticing it, usually they don't care nor do they have sensors measuring water consumption everywhere.  You pay for the water you use(meaning what goes through the meter.)

    .  The meters are affixed to the dwelling, if you have a partial basement then the meter is probably under the stairway.    THAT meter should only show what you used (about 6000g) That is what the utility man reads when he reads the meter..   There is a separate meter that is measuring the water flow that the utility checks maybe at a street corner in the ground.   They can monitor when a street is using more water, meaning there is a break in the waterworks piping.  So they dig up a street to fix the pipe.

    .  I never pay attention to those metal covers in the ground as there is one just for water and electricity is on poles and telephone is on poles and sewer is the street manhole covers.

    .  I am doubting you will notice anything.

    . YOUR ACCOUNT WASN'T FLAGGED.  THAT WATER MAIN WAS FLAGGED

  • 1 month ago

    It's hard to say how much you might be on the hook for, but if the courts are fair about it, I would say that they will adjust it based on your past usage, not the broken pipe, which is not your responsibility, but the landlord's. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    It all depends on who owns the pipe that burst.

    "Turns out we have a busted main pipe down by the road, ..."

    " So the owner is on top of it; he's having the pipe fixed/replaced ASAP. "

    It "appears" that the pipe was owned by the property owner. If the water company doesn't adjust the bill to an amount that is in line with the average previous usage, you'll have to deal with the owner on the issue.

  • 1 month ago

    You, of course.  It's your water bill. 

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  • 1 month ago

    They will look at your average usage per month plus what you paid last year. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    "I'm told I can apply for an adjustment on the bill"

    Fine but who told you this?  If it was anyone but the owner, it's not reliable.  Why wouldn't you just talk to the owner and ask him?  You need to get the process going, because they'll need time to process and release the check to you.  And if for some reason they balk, you'll need time to talk to a local atty.

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    You are rsposible for the water you use, if you are lucky enough to get an adjustment discount great but you aree responsible for the rest of the bill

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It is likely they will use average usage over the last few months to determine the actual bill and you won't see much of a change in bill.

  • 2 months ago

    You can ask the landlord to pay but they are not legallly required to. The landlord is not responsible for any portion of a utility bill in your name unless they were negligent in some way. You yourself state that nobody knew it was leaking.  Any help on the bill has to come from the utility company. 

  • 2 months ago

    You take one step at a time.

    If the water company wipes out the access bill in it's entirety= problem solved.

    If they don't, then you reach out to the landlord if it's worth dealing with. 

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