Reader Email: Charging for Water?

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Reader Email: My landlord says that I need to pay him for my water usage, but none of my friends have to pay their landlords for water. Can my landlord really charge me for the water bill?

Off-Campus Student Living's Response: Yes, your landlord can charge your for water, but only if certain very specific conditions are met: (1) Your unit must be separately sub-metered by a water meter installed by a licensed plumber. This will measure the amount of what that is going to your unit, so your landlord can't charge you for water that you are really using. If your unit is in an apartment build or multi-unit home and there isn't a separate meter just for you you can't be charged. (2) Your landlord needs to have water conservation devices for basically everything. This means your shower and toilet should be low-flow. They must certify under penalties of perjury that these are installed and have been installed by licensed plumbers. Finally, (3) it must say in your lease that you are responsible to pay for water. Your landlord can't just spring this on you mid-lease and must wait until a new tenancy starts to include it. For more information click here to see information from mass.gov.

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