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City woman asks landlords to lend a hand with water bills

July 22, 2013

Marlene Cofer hopes that landlords in the city might consider giving folks like herself some help when bills that need paid come in unexpectedly large....

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Jul-22-13 3:44 AM

Another gimmee, gimmee gimmee person wanting more! Bet a dollar to a donut on who she voted for?

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Jul-22-13 4:19 AM

If the tenant paying the water bill is a condition of the lease, then no, it is not the landlord's job to pay it.

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Jul-22-13 5:03 AM

"Another gimmee, gimmee gimmee person wanting more! Bet a dollar to a donut on who she voted for?" - USABorn


Lighten-up, there, Goober. I'm fairly-certain that was the point (made), when the S-G felt the need to print her picture.

I can't help (but think)...if her picture HADN'T been'd have been complaining about Libs taxing everyone "into poverty".

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Jul-22-13 6:06 AM

So, this lady wants her Obamawater now! "My water bill was $311 this month," maybe it's time to conserve a little water now. If your water bill is that high for a month, your either wasting or you have a tremendous leak the landlord needs to fix.

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Jul-22-13 6:18 AM

Here's my first question and I'm just asking because it was mentioned in the article. Why are you on disability? Is it a legitimate disability (I believe I see a cane in the picture so I assume so) or is it the fact that you're overweight and would rather not work? Please don't misunderstand my question, first of all I don't know how old this individual is, but the answer to my question(s) determines how I view it.

If it's a legitimate disability and there is nothing this individual can do to improve their situation financially, I don't see the issue with them asking their landlord for help. Frankly what's the worst that can happen? The Landlord says no?

If it's a "disability" by choice, they don't deserve anything more than what they have. I would assume however, this is a legitimate disability, I'm not in the 'business' of assuming everyone is a bad person.

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Jul-22-13 7:07 AM

This woman knew when she rented this place that she was responsible for the water bill, she could have rented a place where the water and sewer were included.

She made a choice and now she has to pay the bill period.

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Jul-22-13 7:28 AM

I agree that the tenant should pay the water bill as is written in the lease. There are numerous reasons for an excessive bill. She could simply be using more water, a repair may be needed in her unit or water could be leaking in a basement that she may not have access too. Unfortunately, no one will know until the next bill comes in unless the landlord goes over the plumbing. That seems to be a reasonable request. If there is an issue beyond her knowledge in the building, splitting could be fair. As to disability, receiving disability requires medical certification. You should also include physicians when you attack disability.

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Jul-22-13 7:58 AM

Oh this is going to make Mim blow a gasket.....

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Jul-22-13 7:58 AM

Maybe all of us Landlords should have an article written about how we get shafted by tenants on their remaining water bill, each time they move out. It should also mention that WMWA puts it to us as well since the bills attach to the property and not the tenants who actually use the water. Heck, since we're on it; lets mention the ease of us taking tenants to court for judgements and how easy it is for us to recover our losses! The last part was sarcastic, if you could not tell. I feel for this tenant who the article was written about. It sounds like she uses way too much water or there are serious leaks in her property. Maybe the landlord needs to check or get a report from WMWA on the usage. Good luck to her.

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Jul-22-13 9:03 AM

The water company bills quarterly so the bill was for three months, not one. And to be honest, since the massive rate hikes to comply with Chesapeake Bay cleanup regulations, that bill is not uncommon. My bill just came and it was 300.00, I used to pay 100 before all the rate increases. But regardless, I think the SG is grasping for stories for even printing this. Did this woman actually think someone would come forward and pay it for her? Oh wait a minute... hey Shaman, help out a woman in need. You're all about helping the disenfranchised and the land of freebies.

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Jul-22-13 9:19 AM

I don't think the S/G is "grasping for stories." Don't they print something like this "man on the street" type thing every Monday?

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Jul-22-13 9:23 AM

Spike, I'm not attacking any disabilities and I agree, physicians could be part of the problem there as well. I'm just making an opinionated assessment. Again, I have no reason to think that this is an illegitimate case of disability. I have a few reasons to think it's 100% legit and that's based on observation. I was simply saying what others will be thinking. I don't mind speaking my mind even if others disagree. But Spike, I'm not devalidating your comment. I hear what you're saying.

Local guy, I actually agree with you 100%. I'm not a landlord, so I admit, my tendency is to look at it from the perspective of a tenant. But, I don't mind hearing the perspective of an honest to God, truly good Landlord that at least attempts to do right by his tenants. There is a big difference between Good Landlords and Slumlords, but to be fair, there is a big difference between Good tenants and slumnants.

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Jul-22-13 9:36 AM

I apologize if my initial comment came off as cruel and disrespectful. Not the way I intended it. My point simply was that if there is truly nothing she can do to help her situation, then there isn't any harm in her posing the question to her landlord. By no means am I suggesting the landlord is obligated to help her. But in reality, $300 is the norm for water/sewage bills these days sadly.

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Jul-22-13 9:46 AM

Any utility bill over $100 should be billed monthly. All my other bills come monthly, so why not the public utilities bills? Oh wait, they'd probably use the change to monthly billing as another excuse to increase their rates...

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Jul-22-13 9:54 AM

Jason I totally agree. When they increased their rates as drastically as they did, they should have revisited the policy to bill quarterly. The increasing costs of water and sewer is the reason many landlords no longer include it in the rent. The policy that holds the landlords responsible for unpaid bills, also needs to be revisited if the lease states the tenant is responsible. As it stands now, tenants can skip out on very high delinquent water bills and the landlord can do nothing about them except pay them. It should be treated no differently than electric, gas, cable and phone.

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Jul-22-13 9:55 AM

One reason the water company does not bill monthly is because they would then be unable to charge the 5,000 gallon minimum. That's right folks, the WMWA charges for water and sewer you don't use.

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Jul-22-13 9:59 AM

Wow, I didn't realize that enoughalready. My brother has a house that is on the market and has been sitting empty for six months. I will have to ask him to look at his last two bills to see what they charged him when no water has been used. That almost sounds criminal.

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Jul-22-13 10:09 AM

( Awww , What A Sad Story Here We Have. Lighten-Up And Show Some Compassion For This Poor Unfortunate Disabled Woman. She's Not Asking For An Arm Or A Leg , Just A Little Help In Paying A Bill. Life , A Vicious Cycle. Welcome To The Real World. Good Luck Dear.

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Jul-22-13 10:45 AM

I`m so lucky that I live in a High Rise.My water is included. I still watch my useage. But when I had my home I would pay a 3rd of it a month. So when it does come it would be paid or almost paid.Don`t get me wrong.Miy bill was always under 100.But if 300 is the norm for you just 100 a month. Believe me it is so much easier.

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Jul-22-13 11:19 AM

Enoughalready, Gys, I didn't know that either. That doesn't shock me coming from the CROOKS that are the water company.

Water should be FREE! We all know it, THEY ALL know it! They found a way to make government money and that's what they've done. They are charging us for Earth's natural resources. In reality, that's something they don't have the right to do, but because they are Government and "government rules the land" they've given themselves the right.

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Jul-22-13 11:23 AM

so was it a misprint? is she paying 111 a month or is it 311 for a month. i remember living there and the bills were every three months. did that change? if the water bill alone is 311 for the month there is something seriously wrong. im not one by all means to bring up the gas industry, but are they partially the reason the water needs cleaned up? if so THEY should be helping these people out. jobs around there do NOT pay enough to be paying that kind of money a MONTH on water bills. this woman should be thankful she has a cheap apartment., probably subsidized. lady, get some water saving faucets. wash with a basin instead of a whole shower, go to the laundry mat. wear shirts two days instead of one. wash panties out in a basin... there are PLENTY ways to save on water. shut it off when brushing teeth, dentures whatever.

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Jul-22-13 11:24 AM

oh, and yes, it should be criminal act to be charging people for water they DONT use.. thats like charging you for a service you havent subscribed to. you should only be charged for the gallons of water you use, plus the "FEES" and taxes they have to tack on there... what a crock of bullpuckey

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Jul-22-13 11:35 AM

You aren't paying for the water itself but rather for the construction and upkeep of the system that's in place to bring that water into your home and to take it back out. With that in mind, it's not really "paying for water you didn't use" but rather assessing a minimum charge for the system that's in place to provide running water. I think it's completely fair to do so.

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Jul-22-13 11:41 AM

Bio, her bill was for three months, not one and no the gas industry has nothing to do with the new regulations. They are trying to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay so any community that lives along a tributary that feeds into the Chesapeake are required to abide by these new cleaner waste water regulations. It is the sewer portion of the bill that has had all the rate increases.

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Jul-22-13 1:32 PM

I disagree Rupaul. You are being charged for water and sewer you did not use. The cost of construction and upkeep are already built into the rates. Charging someone who used 3,000 gallons a quarter for 5,000 gallons is indeed charging for water/sewage they didn't use.

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