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Who Is Responsible For Water Fines If Tenant Do Not Use Water Sparingly With Water Restrictions

Category Lifestyle

The facts:

I rent my house out with a pool.

Before Xmas, I asked the tenant to not fill the pool, to let the water deteriorate, as it would, ensuring that I would accept that consequence. At the time, I was unable to get a cover.

The pool went green.

The tenants said that they had rented a house with a pool and wanted their family to have full usage of the house as per the lease.

I arranged at my cost to get the pool back to normal which meant replenishing water the cost of which would be for my account, including all chemicals (and by the way a damaged pump!). R4500

I bought shade cloth, batons and had a bespoke cover made to facilitate the ongoing usage of the pool, asking them to keep it topped up to the minimum possible. They agreed. Cover cost: R1900

My water bill this month is needless to say, exorbitant and, as agreed upon, for my wallet. R1100 (not including sewerage etc)

The question:

Who will be responsible for fines, blaming & shaming, etc if water is used unsparingly by the tenant of the property, despite emails, texts etc to advise of the water situation.

At the moment, I have only asked that the pool be topped to the absolute minimum to keep the pump running, but the next step, I would like to take is to prohibit the use of the pool entirely despite the terms of the lease. Where do I, as the owner, stand in this situation.

Our answer:

1.   The landlord is not necessarily entitled to prevent the tenant from utilizing the pool in these circumstances.

2.   In this regard, the tenant is quite correct that they have leased a property with a pool and are therefore fully entitled to utilize all the properties amenities, including the pool. The tenant would however remain liable to maintain the pool and to ensure that it remains topped up to the correct level, as she has now supplied the tenant with a pool cover.

3.   Of course, topping up of the pool will have to be done within the allowed parameters, and the landlord’s request for the pool to topped up to a minimal level is therefore a reasonable request, especially since it will not impact on the tenant’s use and enjoyment of the swimming pool.  

4.   In the event of any fines and/or penalties being imposed by the municipality (as a result of water being used unsparingly), these would be for the tenant’s account, along with any inflated water bills that have resulted from an increased consumption of water during the tenant’s occupation of the property.

5.   Furthermore, the tenant (as occupant of the property) will be the subject of any “blame and shame” efforts, especially since the landlord has taken all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with water restrictions. 

Author: Marlon Shevelew

Submitted 07 Feb 17 / Views 1440

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