As we head into fall and winter, it’s easy to remember that heat is one of the biggest expenses any Twin Cities landlord faces. That is, of course, if a property has a single boiler or furnace. Another expense, however, which can inexplicably jump and cause diminished cash flow, however, is water.
I learned this the hard way. Which, unfortunately, seems to be how I learn best. In my 23 unit apartment building, my water bill inexplicably jumped from $800 per quarter to over $2000.
Of course, I immediately called my handyman, and we went through the building one unit at a time. We checked the usual for the source of the spike: dripping faucets, running toilets and more people living in a unit than were reflected on the lease. We found some small drips, but nothing that could account for such a radical jump.
So we asked some questions of the tenants. Guess what? One of the three washing machines on the premises repeatedly filled with water, drained, and then repeated the process: over and over again. Ad infinitum. We simply unplugged the machine until the appliance repair company could come out. The next month, the bill dropped below what it even had been in the past.
My lesson? It doesn’t hurt to do regular apartment inspections to find water issues.