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Effective July 15, 2011 Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is no longer creating new water, sewer and garbage accounts in tenant names.
There are approximately 20,000 SPU tenant accounts. The financial management of those accounts should lie with the owners. SPU believes this change appropriately shifts administrative cost of managing tenant accounts from the rest of the rate-payer base to landlords.
This change will align our processes more closely with Seattle Municipal Codes (SMC), specifically SMC 21.04.260, which states that all accounts for water shall be kept in the name of the owner of the premises.
Additionally, the property owner is always ultimately responsible for the water, sewer, and garbage debt incurred by a renter.
Seattle Municipal Code SMC 21.04.260 states that all accounts for water shall be kept in the name of the owner of the premises.
SMC 21.04.250 identifies the property owner as the proper account holder, and as the person ultimately responsible for the debt incurred at the property.
All new accounts opened on or after July 15, 2011 will be in the property owner’s or manager’s name.
As tenants move out and close their accounts, the owner's account will be activated and remain in the owner's name from that point forward.
No, this will be done automatically. Please make sure that SPU has your correct mailing address on your account.
Tenants can establish credit through many bills that are in their name such as home phone, cell phone, cable, internet, gas, and electric. Tenants are still able to put the City Light bill in their name, thus they can still establish credit through a utility account.
Tenants who live in duplexes and other multi-family apartment buildings do not have separate SPU accounts in their names.
Yes. Renters are eligible to retain individual electric accounts through Seattle City Light. For more information, please read SCL’s Billing and Accounts FAQ.
Yes. The property owner – whose name is on the bill – should contact customer service at (206) 684-3000 to have a copy of the bill sent to their tenant. The original bill will continue to be mailed to the property owner at their mailing address, and a clearly marked duplicate copy will be sent to the service address.
There is no hard evidence to suggest tenants would waste water if they don’t pay the water bill. For rebates offers, water-saving tips and advice on finding and fixing leaks, visit the Saving Water Partnership website or call (206) 684-SAVE (7283).
Landlords have several ways they can manage their property utility bills. They can adjust rents, deposits, or fees as well as provide bill copies to their tenants. SPU has no interest, influence, or authority over what landlords determine to be their best method.
If a tenant is eligible to participate in the utility discount program and has a City Light account in their name (proving they are the tenant), water/sewer/garbage credits will be applied to their SCL account.
Billed charges can vary depending on number of people in the household, water use habits, and solid waste service levels. Landlords can look at previous bill statements to obtain bill history to determine an average monthly amount. For additional billing information, landlords may also visit SPU's Rate Summary website.
Landlords can prorate by taking an average bill amount, dividing by the days of service to determine the average daily charge, then multiply by the number of days for which the tenant is responsible.