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Unpaid Tenant Water Bills

Owner/Landlord Information - Protecting Yourself

From time to time, the Utility Billing Section has difficulty collecting payment for water and wastewater services from account holders. Where the delinquent account holder is a tenant, and the Utility Billing Section is unable to collect amounts owing, the City of Brandon will, under the authority under Section 252 of The Municipal Act, transfer those amounts to the property taxes of the owner. With this in mind, it may be in your best interests to have water and wastewater charges billed to you, instead of billing the tenant directly. As owner/landlord, the choice is yours.

 

Q. What can owners do to protect themselves against unpaid tenant bills?

  • Ensure that our Utility Billing Section (UT) is aware of all properties belonging to you where a landlord/tenant relationship exists. We will provide you with important information which may save you money.
  • Ensure any arrangements you make with your tenant(s) regarding payment of their water and wastewater bill are recorded in the TENANCY AGREEMENT. You may wish to note in the Tenancy Agreement that the tenant is responsible for providing meter readings when requested to do so.
  • Contact our UT periodically to learn about the status of your tenant(s) accounts.

 

The notice should raise consideration of the following option:

  • Advise the UT when a tenant is vacating your premises and provide a final meter reading and forwarding information on the day the tenant leaves. We can immediately calculate for you the amount outstanding so you know what to collect before the tenant departs. When issued, a final bill will be sent to both the tenant and the owner.
  • Please provide the UT with the name and pertinent information of the new account holder, even in those situations where a property is to remain vacant for a period of time. If the name of a new tenant is not provided, the account will be transferred into the owner’s name.
  • The UT will not negotiate payment extensions or alternative payment arrangements with tenants. Tenants are responsible for obtaining the owner's consent for alternate payment arrangements.

 

Call the Utility Billing Section TO ENSURE ALL BILLS HAVE BEEN PAID BEFORE RETURNING THEIR TENANCY DEPOSIT. Allow sufficient clearing time for payments made by cheque.

 

What is the city doing to protect owners against unpaid tenant bills?

  • If the Utility Billing Section becomes aware of a resident who is receiving service at a new address while still owing for service provided at a previous address, we will forward any unpaid bills to the former tenant’s current address.
  • If a bill is 90 days overdue, a letter is sent to the owner advising that, unless the account is paid by a prescribed date, the account will be transferred to the owner’s property taxes. 

 

Before you rent out any type of housing unit, the City of Brandon asks that you consider the following:

  • Do contact the Province of Manitoba Residential Tenancies Branch. The Residential Tenancies Branch provides valuable information to landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act. Fact sheets are available on various topics of interest to landlords and tenants. The Residential Tenancies Branch investigates possible breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act and provides background information to resolve disputes; attempts to mediate disputes between landlords and tenants, including claims for compensation; adjudicates all matters which previously were referred to Court of Queen's Bench and Small Claims Court.

    Contact the Residential Tenancies Branch Wpg Office at:
    302-254 Edmonton Street,
    Winnipeg, MB R3C 3Y4
    Phone toll-free: 1-800-656-848

  • Check plumbing fixtures for leaks. Even small leaks in plumbing fixtures can cost you or your tenants hundreds of dollars in unnecessary water and wastewater charges and may end up on your tax bill.
  • Consider installing water conservation devices, including low-flow showerheads, low-flow faucet aerators, and early-closure toilet flappers. These items are low-cost, easy to install, and will provide substantial savings in water/wastewater charges for years to come. Talk with tenants about the importance of water conservation. Check out the provincial website for conservation tips as well. www.ec.gc.ca/water
  • If you are planning to rent to an individual receiving social assistance from the Province of Manitoba, please contact the Employment and Income Assistance Office in your area. See the telephone listing under Government of Manitoba, Family Services, in the back section of the White Pages MTS Telephone Directory.

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