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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    2

    Angry Shared water line - I am paying for my neighbor's water

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    I purchased a house which is technically now classified as a condo, because the lot was split many years ago and another house was built behind mine. The house shares a water line with house behind it, however the houses are not separately metered for water use and myself and the owners of the other property split the water bill 50/50. I looked at the CCRs for the unincorporated "Condo" association and there is language saying each owner has the right to separately meter their own water line, otherwise the houses will split the cost.

    As of now a couple with two infants are living in the other house (they are renters) and I am the only person living in my house (which I own). Given the fact the mother is home all day taking care of the babies and there are more people living in that house, it is safe to assume that they are using much more water than me. I am assuming that the owners are including water as part of their tenant's rent and therefore profiting off of me as I am almost undoubtedly paying for some of the other tenant's water. I tried emailing the owners of the other property to request paying (1/3) of the water bill (which is probably still more than I should have to pay) , but they refused to agree to it.

    When I talked Dev to services for the City, the engineer said I cannot do a water meter split because of the configuration and would have to install a separate water line which could cost about $6000.

    Given all this, do I have legal grounds to force the owner of the other property to split the cost of a new water line? As I mentioned, I would think it is illegal for the other owner to provide his tenants water which I am essentially paying for.

    Please let me know what i can do, this gets under my skin everyday as I wake up to water gushing through pipes that I am essentially paying for.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    You could also put a private meter at one or both sides of where the line Tee's to either house. Since it is downstream of the utility's meter, and on private property, the utility has no say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,935

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    Quote Quoting MaltbyMark
    View Post
    You could also put a private meter at one or both sides of where the line Tee's to either house. Since it is downstream of the utility's meter, and on private property, the utility has no say.
    That is assuming that the line actually Tee's. From the description of one house being built behind the other, there may be no T.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,505

    Default Re: Shared water line - I am paying for my neighbor's water

    Quote Quoting dp92188
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    Given all this, do I have legal grounds to force the owner of the other property to split the cost of a new water line?
    No. You bought the house, presumably knowing that there was only one water line and one meter for both houses. This was something you should have addressed as part of your purchase contract. You are probably stuck with the status quo unless you want to spend more on litigation than you would spend on a new meter and water line.

    Quote Quoting dp92188
    View Post

    I would think it is illegal for the other owner to provide his tenants water which I am essentially paying for.
    Nope. Perfectly legal. No law against it. It's not even a civil wrong. You agreed on a 50/50 split without taking into consideration who uses what. That's a contract. To modify the contract you need the agreement of both owners.

    Quote Quoting dp92188
    View Post

    Please let me know what i can do, this gets under my skin everyday as I wake up to water gushing through pipes that I am essentially paying for.
    Let's put this into perspective.

    How much is the water bill each month? Give me a dollar amount. If it varies, give me the monthly average.

    In whose name is the water account?

  5. #5
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    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
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    112

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    That is assuming that the line actually Tee's. From the description of one house being built behind the other, there may be no T.
    One meter and two houses means that there must be a tee somewhere.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,935

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    Quote Quoting MaltbyMark
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    One meter and two houses means that there must be a tee somewhere.
    Why? One house is behind another. There is no reason why the main pipe couldn't go straight from the street in front of house number one, under the house, and then straight on to house number 2. Now, if the houses were side by side, or the water line come from the side of the houses, then I agree that there would be a T. However these houses are described as one being in front of the other, with the front house being there first.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
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    112

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    There is no reason why the main pipe couldn't go straight from the street in front of house number one, under the house, and then straight on to house number 2
    That would still require a tee

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,505

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    The tee might be inaccessible.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    112

    Default Re: Shared Water Line Between Houses - and Owner of Other Property is Renting to Tena

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    The tee might be inaccessible.
    Wouldn't matter. Put a private meter at the first accessible location downstream of the tee feeding the first house

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,668

    Default Re: Shared water line - I am paying for my neighbor's water

    Quote Quoting dp92188
    View Post
    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    I purchased a house which is technically now classified as a condo, because the lot was split many years ago and another house was built behind mine. The house shares a water line with house behind it, however the houses are not separately metered for water use and myself and the owners of the other property split the water bill 50/50. I looked at the CCRs for the unincorporated "Condo" association and there is language saying each owner has the right to separately meter their own water line, otherwise the houses will split the cost.

    As of now a couple with two infants are living in the other house (they are renters) and I am the only person living in my house (which I own). Given the fact the mother is home all day taking care of the babies and there are more people living in that house, it is safe to assume that they are using much more water than me. I am assuming that the owners are including water as part of their tenant's rent and therefore profiting off of me as I am almost undoubtedly paying for some of the other tenant's water. I tried emailing the owners of the other property to request paying (1/3) of the water bill (which is probably still more than I should have to pay) , but they refused to agree to it.

    When I talked Dev to services for the City, the engineer said I cannot do a water meter split because of the configuration and would have to install a separate water line which could cost about $6000.

    Given all this, do I have legal grounds to force the owner of the other property to split the cost of a new water line? As I mentioned, I would think it is illegal for the other owner to provide his tenants water which I am essentially paying for.

    Please let me know what i can do, this gets under my skin everyday as I wake up to water gushing through pipes that I am essentially paying for.
    What you need to do is to check your jurisdiction's ordnances about the water company utility ordinances. In most jurisdictions, there is a requirement for each dwelling to have it's own meter connected to a municipal water supply.

    For example (since I don't know your city or municipality, I will use LA).



    Sec. 21-4. - Meter required; meter readings; right of entry.

    A meter shall be installed upon each connection to the system which shall be read by a duly authorized agent of the town, who shall have access to the premises of each customer for such purpose at all times and also for the purpose of removing any such meter and any pipe of the town located on the premises in the event service is discontinued to such customer. [B]Every residence shall have its own meter. A duplex, triplex or quadplex shall have two (2), three (3) or four (4) meters respectively. [/B]Apartment complexes or commercial developments may have either a master meter or individual unit meters. If individual unit meters are utilized, connections must be piped so that meters are set within a short distance from a town main which is located in a right-of-way or public servitude. The meter itself shall be set adjacent to the edge of the right-of-way or servitude limit. Each customer, by having or leaving his premises connected to the system and accepting service therefrom, shall consent and agree to such access and such removal.

    (Ord. No. 795, 4, 1-7-08)
    https://library.municode.com/la/kind...Id=COOR_CH21UT

    So instead of asking the purveyor about what the law says, ask your municipal or city attorney. And then you may be able to compel the owner of the rental unit to put in a separate waterline. The purveyor may have to pay the cost and thus will tell you anything.

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