Jefferson County

Jefferson County

 
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Landlord seek change in ways water bills are enforced

Updated: Thursday, April 17 2014, 05:41 PM EDT

wtov9.com

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio -- Unpaid water bills from tenants are causing headaches for local landlords, so they're asking Commissioners for one of two things -- enforce the current policy the way it reads, or change it to ease the burden unpaid bills put on them.
The policy states that water will be shut off for a delinquent amount, not for the total amount on the bill.
The problem is, when tenants move out, there is no one but the landlords to pay for the difference to keep the water running.
"I feel this way, if they know it's going to get shut off, they're going to make every effort to pay it," said local landlord John Synodinos.
County Commissioners have been allowing residents to pay what is 60 days past due to keep service, which doesn't necessarily pay the bill in full.
It would look something like this: A bill comes in with a balance of $150 in April that isn't paid. A second bill comes in May with the balance of $225.
The April amount is paid to keep service but a balance of $75 is dollars unpaid.
"What ends up happening is the balance due keeps increasing month after month after month and then when they end up leaving, they leave the landlord -- in this case me -- with a bill of hundreds of dollars," Synodinos.
It's sometimes even more. Synodinos says he's thousands in delinquent water bills from tenants who have left.
Commissioners will now review their policy in two phases.
"Obviously we're not trying to have a landlord get stuck with a large bill," Jefferson County Commissioner Dave Maple said.
They'll look to see if they are correctly enforcing their own policy and then search for a more efficient way of enforcing it.
"Even if that's right, is it logical to keep it that way? Maple asked. Or should we look at changing it and modifying it?
As they review their policy, commissioners will pass the issue onto the prosecutor's office to get their opinion on if the policy is being enforced correctly before proceeding.
Maple said that while their business relationship is with the landlord, he agreed more could be done to protect the landlord and the county.

Landlord seek change in ways water bills are enforced


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