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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
    Location
    Pugetopolis
    Posts
    114

    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
    16,474

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

    Quote Quoting MaltbyMark
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    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
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    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
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    114

    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,474

    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
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    114

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    2

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

    As I said, the engineer at Development services for the city looked at the configuration and said I wouldn’t be able to just do a water meter split.

    @adjusterjack thank you for your input. I will say this was my first house purchase and I didn’t know everything I was doing. I had a Redfin agent who, looking back, was not very good but at the time I felt rushed because I had already backed out of another deal which wasted 3 weeks of my time and I was being forced out of my old apartment because the building was being sold.

    Very little attention was given to the fact that this was condo and part of a “condo association” even though there is no HOA. During the final walk-through of the house the owner did mention “the water is shared” and it did put red flags off in my head but as I said I was in a bind and just thought I would figure it out later.

    So the water bill hovers around $360-400+ every two months which comes out to about $180-200 a month. Both houses use 300-350 gallons per day according to the bill. They say the average person uses 80-100 gallon a day which is why I thought my argument to pay 1/3 is fair.

    I’m looking into the process of installing a separate water line so we’ll see where things go from there. Thanks for your input.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    7,056

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

    I guess you didn't understand what I posted in post #10. It may not make any difference that you have a condo situation.

    If you are connected to a public water system, then there would be an ordinance for the city you live in. Did you look it up or not?

    The engineer you spoke to is not an attorney for the city. He doesn't get to decide what the law says. If your city has an ordinance that says every dwelling on the public water system must have their own meter then you can compel your neighbor to pay for it. I'm not talking about a split. I'm saying that your neighbor will have to install a line from the public main to his house.

    Do you understand that now?

    Post your city and I'll find the ordinance for you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Pugetopolis
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    114

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

    Just what is a split water meter? Put a private sub-meter on private land downstream of your house. Then one could figure out how much volume each house is using

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    7,056

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

    Most public water systems don't allow you to split a water line. That means that each dwelling must have it's own corporation into the water main. A corporation is a direct connection to the main that feeds a water meter. So you can't take a corporation from one dwelling and split it to service another dwelling.

    In the case of multiple dwellings that are served by one corporation, each unit must have their own meter.

    OP says that he and his neighbor are in a condo association. But they are two separate properties. Thus there is nothing that connects the op's property to the neighbor's property. They are still separate dwellings.

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