Apartment Water Bill Issue (Need Advice)

redhatlx09May 28, 2011

So me and my roommate have just moved into an apartment for the first time ever in Miami. (First time as in we are college students) We are now paying for our own electricity and our own water. We are very conservative about both (putting bricks in the tanks of toilet to offset the amount of water flushed, minimal shower use etc...)

So we got a set of bills at the end of May (we moved in on April 30th) and the electricity was 99$ (not bad) however the water was $61 for 13 days of usage. April 30th - May 12th. They say we used 9300 gallons of water in a 2 week period which is equivalent to 750 a day which translates to us running the bathtub for 11 hours a day (the entire time we are awake) Clearly this was wrong.

However after speaking with some of the neighbors and trying to get this solved this is the current situation.

-Manager of the apartments is gone and will be till June 2nd

-Maintenance came to inspect the apartment for leaks and see the water meter. Water meter was installed upside down so he could not see the numbers. (they read it electronically) and there were no leaks.

-Speaking with some of the neighbors the manager is a real (sob) and this water issue might be a major problem as we have to pay him not the water company.

My question is this. If the manager refuses to acknowledge this problem or ignores us, what can we do? What would be our steps? We obviously do not use 9300 gallons of water in a 2 week period and we can see that the water meters gears do not run constantly so there is no leak. Some neighbors have had this problem before and the manager has told them if they don't like it to move out. We are going tomorrow to pester the people below management to come up with a solution as the fact is; the long we wait the bigger our water bill might become.

Can a water meter installed in correctly display an incorrect reading?

What if the manager ignores us/ refuses to help us?

We are worried that this might continue and we are very low on cash and mostly survive on loans and grants because we are students. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

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You should carefully read your lease and determine if there is any discussion as to how these disputes are resolved. Failing that, Florida and/or Miami may have some department that deals with landlord/tenant relations. They may be able to provide some guidance. Since you mention being a student, I seem to remember that my college had some kind organization that helped with landlord/tenant relations as well.

As for the water bill, it sounds like your landlord is re-billing for the water authority. Do they send you an actual copy of the bill? It's a fairly common for public utilities to estimate usage, sometimes erroneously. Over or under usage estimates are usually corrected with the next billing cycle when the meter is actually read.

The position of the meter may be an issue and you should check with the water authority.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 11:06AM
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