Many commercial and industrial properties are billed for water by their local municipality on a bulk basis, meaning the condominium corporation or property owner receives a single bill for the water consumed in the entire building. The water cost incurred for the building then becomes part of the common expenses paid by unit owners in accordance with their proportion of interest; or by tenants as part of the rental charges determined by their lease agreements.
This can have a significant financial impact when one or more unit owners, tenants or occupants consume a large volume of water and incidentally more than their neighbors. For example, in a typical commercial condo with multiple businesses; a restaurant, hair salon, or laundromat will invariably consume more water than then other businesses such as an office or retail store. If water is billed on a bulk basis there is no way to attribute its cost to those that are consuming it. Any units that have high consumption (by virtue of the type of business they are running) will drive up the cost of water for the entire building, thereby also increasing overall common expenses. In effect, units that have low water consumption are subsidizing the businesses of their neighbors through their common expenses.
Furthermore, leaks from poorly maintained plumbing fixtures and toilets can often go undetected and have a noticeable impact on the overall water costs. Without the means to attribute the costs of water from leaking fixtures to the offending party, there is no incentive for those owners or tenants to check, repair, or replace their leaking fixtures.
A common solution to these problems is to implement water sub-metering for each of the units so that they can be invoiced and pay for the actual water they consume. This will either remove water as a common expense; or reduce it only to that which is used for common areas such as landscape irrigation and cleaning. Once the units’ water consumption is individually metered, the amount of water consumed and the cost for only the common areas (if any) will usually amount to a small fraction of the prior combined water costs. This can allow those savings in water costs to be put towards reducing the overall common expenses, other operating costs, or additional contributions to the reserve fund.
We can help with the implementation of water sub-metering for your condo or rental property! Through our contacts with licensed plumbing contractors, water sub-meters can be purchased and installed in each unit along with the required wiring and scan pad so that the meter can be read from outside the building without requiring entry into the unit. A handheld meter reading scanner is provided by the plumbing contractor to the condominium corporation or property owner for reading the meters.
There are no long term contracts to sign and the meters can be read by our management staff on a quarterly basis (or other intervals if required) for a nominal fee to the corporation or property owner. Invoices for water consumption are generated through our office and sent to unit owners or tenants on your behalf. Unit owners or tenants also have the ability to have their water bills debited from their bank account by pre-authorized payment if they are already subscribed on this program for their monthly common expense or rental payments.