Tenants in Nashville apartments upset at water bill change - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Tenants in Nashville apartments upset at water bill change


Tenants in south Nashville say their apartment complex stuck them with a monthly water bill that just doesn't add up.

People who live at 380 Harding Apartments received a notice from management that effective immediately, with all new leases water will no longer be included in their rent.

The water bills will not be based on usage but by the size of their apartment units.

That affects residents like Brian Pelletier, who receives disability checks and was planning on renewing his lease until he read the notice.

"There's no meter on the place, and they're charging roughly $45 to $50 a month. And I'm only one person, and there's no way I'd use that kind of water," Pelletier said.

"It is basically a water conservation issue," said property manager Woody McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said while he can't speak about this specific situation, he says charging tenants for water is nothing new.

"Where the plumbing facilitates it, a direct meter of each unit is obviously the more accurate way. Many older apartments, the plumbing does not facilitate figuring out how much is in Unit A how much is in Unit B," he said.

In fact, McLaughlin says many property owners have been using something called the ratio-utility billing system for decades. Basically it's a formula calculating water rates based on square footage, number of residents and other variables.

"When I first got in the apartment business, it was less than $10 a month for a one bedroom. Now, the average is running $35, $40 a month. And conservation is much more important," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said numbers show tenants report more leaks and conserve 13-percent more water under the system.

But Pelletier is not buying it and hopes others won't either.

"I'm not paying water for someone else because they have eight people and I'm only one person," Pelletier said.

A representative for Metro Water Services says because 380 Harding Apartments is private property, Metro can't install individual meters for each unit.

Calls to the property owner, Julius de Santis Management Group, have so far gone unreturned.

As for Pelletier, he says he's moving at the end of the month.

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