KSAT 12 Defenders investigate apartment methods for calculating water bills

Tenant claims water bill at The Renaissance at Canyon Springs was unreasonable

SAN ANTONIO - A former tenant of The Renaissance at Canyon Springs apartments on the far North Side contacted the KSAT 12 Defenders after he claimed his water bill was unreasonably high. 

Brad Test and three roommates lived in a four bedroom apartment at The Renaissance at Canyon Springs. Test said the bills gradually went up from $100 to $184 and he wondered why.

"We were rarely home and two of the guys worked in the oil field. So they were gone six days on, three days off. And when they were home they were usually at their girlfriend's house," Test said. 

The KSAT 12 Defenders contacted the San Antonio Apartment Association for answers.

The association said complexes can't just charge what they feel like. "It is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality," said Teri Bilby with the San Antonio Apartment Association.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says there are several billing methods. One is with a sub-meter that measures actual usage. Others are formulas using apartment occupancy, a combination of occupancy and square feet or sub-metered hot water only as a percentage of the whole bill.

The KSAT 12 Defenders determined Test's bill was a combination of occupancy and square feet.

So are tenants paying for the water used in the apartment laundromat? How about for keeping the pool filled? And what about keeping the landscape watered? The landlord is supposed to deduct for all that when there's just one main water meter.

"It's 25 percent. A minimum of 25 percent for landscape watering and then there's 5 percent for laundry use and that sort of thing," said Terry Bilby with the San Antonio Apartment Association.

Tenants are presented a TCEQ fact sheet when they move in, but it's possible many don't read it, don't understand or don't get answers to their questions. "Basically their answer was deal with it," Test said. 

To dispute a bill, you can file a written complaint with the billing company, which must investigate and provide you a written report within 30 days.

You can report rule violations to the The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.


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