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Tenant calls out exploitative landlord over outlandish water bill for rental property: '[This] is not something to take lightly'

"My landlord is pretty uptight about the lawn."

Tenant calls out landlord over outlandish rental property bill

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A Redditor has been saddled with the eye-watering cost of watering their lawn, with their landlord forcing them to pay for an automatic sprinkler system. 

In the r/legaladvice subreddit, the Redditor describes their soaring bills, which have tripled since their last bill to almost $1,000. That's double what they paid for water last summer, too. 

Their lease stipulates that they are responsible for maintaining the lawn, which includes paying for this sprinkler system. 

The sprinklers use so much water that they have even flooded the Redditor's basement — yet the landlord still insists that the sprinklers must run three times a week.

"My landlord is pretty uptight about the lawn," the Redditor wrote. "They would not budge on how frequently the sprinklers run."

This Redditor isn't the only American currently facing hiked water costs. Water bills are rising more rapidly than other utility bills in the U.S., with a typical bill now costing 43.2% more in 2021 than it did in 2012, according to Bluefield Research. 

Reasons for that price hike vary from state to state, but one common motivation is the need to invest in aging infrastructure. For now, bills are unlikely to come down, and Americans are being widely encouraged to reduce their water use. 

That's especially the case in areas where megadrought conditions are impacting water supplies. Austin, Texas, for example, recently implemented stage one drought restrictions to deal with the heat, which involves limiting watering for automated irrigation to once a week.

And earlier this year, Utah became the first state to pledge funding that will pay homeowners to replace thirsty lawns with water-wise plants.

Cutting back on watering the lawn makes sense from an ecological and financial point of view, but Redditors have cautioned the user not to react too hastily by switching off the sprinkler system. 

"Feel free to dial back the sprinkler system, but insufficient watering could expose you to liability," one user wrote. "Many grasses will go dormant during a drought without harm."

"[This] is not something to take lightly," another agreed. "If you end up killing the grass you could be liable for the cost of replacement which can be thousands depending on the type of grass."

According to one Redditor, the rocketing bills might not be due to the sprinkler. 

"Given the huge jump, a leak is the most likely," they wrote. "If it is, inform your landlord so the leak can be repaired. And most utilities have at least a partial leak-forgiveness program if you present a completed work-order."

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