R.S. from Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We receive our water bill from our condo management company. We noticed that our “usage rate” is 0.0789 per gallon. We vacationed there for 10 days, used 704 gallons, and received a bill for $55.55. Now, we went to the water utility website and multi-family residences are charged a usage rate of $4.71 per 1,000 gallons. Are management companies permitted to charge usage fees in excess of what a utility charges? This is Florida. Thank you for your help.
Mister Condo replies:
R.S., thank you for writing. I am not an expert in Florida utility laws so please forgive my general response to your question. You may need to speak to a local expert for a definitive answer. The question of utility usage is very likely answered in your condominium’s governance documents. Even though the bill comes from the management company, they are most likely interpreting the formula for reimbursement that is outlined in your condo governance documents. If the rate for 704 gallons equates to a bill for $55.55, then that is very likely what you owe the association for the water that you consumed. This formula may or may not be based on the actual cost of the water as provided to the association as they have additional expenses (like accounting and billing via the management company) to take into consideration before they determine their cost to provide you with the water. All the best!