Pittsburg’s City Council has decided to postpone a proposed rule that would require landlords to pay for a tenant’s delinquent water bill.
After a barrage of protests, including personal appearances at the council meetings, phone calls, emails and letters, City Council has decided to reconsider the measure to all allow the city-owned utility to place a lien on a rental property if a tenant doesn’t pay the water bill.
According to a news report, such dissent shown at city council meetings is rare.
A city official explained that the plan was to have landlords transfer the accounts into their names after the tenant moves out, triggering the right to lien the property for nonpayment. Landlords would ultimately be responsible for payment if collection against the tenant fails.
Several landlords reacted with outrage, according to the report, calling the measure arbitrary and punitive.
One argued that the city doesn’t take responsibility for collecting rent when tenants don’t pay, so landlords should not have to collect water bills for the city.
Further discussions are planned before the measure comes back up in November. One option under consideration is to require deposits from tenants before they set up an account for water.
However, not all city officials are sympathetic to the landlords. One described their complaints as “overly dramatic.”
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