As the owner/manager of a property in the Water Works and Lighting Commission service territory, here are some Frequently Asked Questions.
Can I put service in my tenant(s) name?
Yes, in fact we encourage you to! Putting service in your tenant(s) name will ensure who is responsible for the utility bill and the date your request should become effective. The hyperlink below is a copy of our residential application form and there is a section in yellow which indicates the information was submitted by the landlord. We will also send a letter to your tenant that service has been placed in their name (see example below).
- Residential Application (Online Form)
- Residential Application (PDF)
- Tenant Letter if Landlord Submits Application
Note: Please feel free to contact our office prior to a lease agreement to verify your perspective tenant does not have an outstanding balance where we would require them to pay their previous bill prior to placing service in their name.
What if my tenant terminates service in their name but still has a current lease where they are responsible for the utility bill?
If your tenant contacts us to take service out of their name, we are required to terminate their service as a utility is not privy to a least agreement. But...we do send you a letter to notify you a tenant has terminated their account and service has been placed in your name (see the example below). You have fifteen days to contact the utility if you do not want service placed in your name.
What if someone other than my tenant puts service in their name?
As the owner of the rental dwelling, you can state in your lease agreement whose name should be on the utility bill(s). A utility is not privy to a lease. But...we do mail you a letter to notify you when service is changed from one tenant to another tenant (see example below).
Am I notified if my tenant does not pay their utility bill?
Yes, after the due date each month, we will mail you a Landlord Tenant Notice (see example below).
As the property owner, you would be responsible for utility charges if your tenant(s) terminates their service and the bill remains unpaid.
If my tenant does not pay their utility bill am I responsible?
Yes, any property owner is responsible for the utility bill even if service is not in their name. In October of each year, WW&LC will send a legal notice of an unpaid utility balance to tenants and homeowners for any terminated accounts at a property they rented/own (see example below). If the balance remains unpaid, it will be transferred to the property tax levy in November.
What legal options do I have if I end up having to pay an unpaid utility bill for my tenant?
If you are required to pay the utility bill as part of the tax roll process, you can file a Lien with the Wood or Portage County Court. Please contact us if you would like a signed lien form indicating you have paid the utility charges for your tenant. You can also require a security deposit as part of the lease.
About every six months, the utility will mail a copy of the Landlord Tenant Notice that will include all the property locations they own, the tenants we have listed, and if they have a past due balance. PLEASE verify this information and contact us immediately if you own a property that is not listed, have sold a property listed on the notice, or if your tenant information is not correct.
We have a great staff in our office who is here to help you. We encourage you to contact us with your questions or concerns.