My water just got turned off and I’m a tenant. I cannot reach my landlord, I have small kids, how do I get my water back on? Can I deduct the amount I pay for water restoration from my rent to the landlord?
A. Rest assured, we are available to assist you. In the event of an absentee or vacationing landlord, we will make payment arrangements, usually short-term in nature with you, the tenant. You may be required to make a down payment and pay the turn on fee before services can be restored once we confirm that you are not the actual owner.
For your convenience, we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover, or card bearing the STAR, NYCE, PULSE or ACCEL logo. Note: Restoration of the service will take place within 24 hours.
B. If you are unemployed, disabled, DSS client, you may qualify for a hardship agreement. Be sure to contact your direct- service agency counselor and find out what information you will need from Buffalo Water manage by Veolia in order for them to assist you. Normally, social service agencies require that you provide them with an account printout. Once you take the print out to DSS, they will determine the amount of your future award and give you an award statement. You must bring the DSS statement along with the turn on fee to our Exchange Street office in order to have service restored. We take into consideration the amount of the DSS award in developing your payment plan. Once we agree on payment terms, you must return your payment arrangement to DSS in order to finalize your award with them so that they will actually make a payment to us on your behalf. You must complete all follow-up requirements for payment from DSS.
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Can I deduct the amount I pay for water restoration from my rent to the landlord?
Because we are not attorneys, it would be inappropriate of us to give legal advice, we can only suggest that you consult an attorney in such matters.
The office of the New York State Attorney General Office Eric T. Schneiderman has produced an excellent reference entitled, “Tenant’s Rights Guide” that you can access on line at http://www.oag.state.ny.us/realestate/habitability.html#30. The website addresses the landlord’s responsibility to provide vital services to tenants.
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Is there an agency I can contact that will make my landlord pay the water bill?
Yes, you may contact the Erie County Environmental Health Inspector at 716-961-6800. You will be required to provide them with your name, address and the name and address of the landlord. Because a NO WATER call is considered an emergency and is also considered to be unsanitary, Erie County will attempt to contact your landlord by telephone and by mail after confirming the account information with Buffalo Water managed by Veolia. Erie County will give your landlord five days to restore the water service. If the landlord fails to restore the service within the allotted timeframe, Erie County Environmental Health will petition the landlord to appear in the City of Buffalo’s Housing Court. NOTE: You may have to make additional living arrangments during this time. Erie County nor Buffalo Water managed by Veolia does not provide legal advice. If you chose to pay the water bill and offset your rent to the landlord, we recommend that you consult an attorney in this matter.
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I would like to make arrangements to pay the past due bill, but I want a tenants agreement with the Buffalo Water mnaged by Veolia. Can I sign a tenant’s agreement?
Yes, we have developed this kind of agreement for tenants. To hear more or sign up for an actual agreement please contact Buffalo Water at 716-847-1065 Monday Thru Friday 8:30AM to 4:30PM.
I am a senior citizen and I am disabled, my water is turned off for non-payment but my landlord will not call me back. If I come in and make arrangements to pay the balance, will you give me a Senior Citizens & Disability discount?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer the Senior Citizens discount to tenants. Senior Citizen’s discounts are available only to homeowners at their primary residences. Income properties do not qualify for the discount.
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I am a renter and I just received a final notice, is there a water energy assistance program (WEAP) similar to heating energy assistance program (HEAP) that can assist me?
Unfortunately, neither this program nor any other program of its kind has been adopted in the City of Buffalo.
I was just at a Tops Market paying other utility bills and saw a sign that says Erie County Water customers can pay their bills via Western Union payment services right there inside of the market. Why can’t City of Buffalo water customers pay their bills at Tops?
Effective Wednesday, August 1, 2007 you can now pay your Buffalo Water bill(s) at Tops Markets.
When paying at any Top’s location(s), please be sure to have your Buffalo Water managed by Veolia invoice present. Please note that Western Union payments have a processing time of 3-5 business days.
If your water service has been interrupted, you will need to present your receipt to our office at 281 Exchange Street-Buffalo, New York-14204, before the service can be restored.
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Why is my bill estimated when there is a black box attached to my house that allows your staff to read my meter any time you want to?
There could be several reasons why a Buffalo Water staff cannot obtain a read while utilizing the black-box located on the outside of your house. (1) There may be a disconnection in the touch pad (black-box) wire located on the outside of your house that is not allowing the touch pad (black-box) to communicate with the meter located on the inside your house. (2) The actual meter located inside of your home may be defective. (3) Buffalo Water staff may not be able to get close enough to the touchpad attached to your home if it is blocked by; trash, cars, dogs, bushes, locked gates, etc., in this event you should have received a green door hanger advising you of this problem. In any of the aforementioned cases, your next bill will be estimated. You should contact our offices at 716-847-1065 to schedule and appointment to have the repairs complted.
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I am a senior citizen and have qualified for the STAR program, but when I got my water bill there was no discount. Why?
There is a special program within the City of Buffalo for seniors ages 65 and over that’s administered by the City of Buffalo Tax Department, Room 105 City Hall. To obtain an application or receive qualification guidlines please call 716-851-5747. Applications for the Water Discount Program must be submitted not later than December 1st of each year. If approved discounts will take effect in July 1st of the new calender year. Note: Approved discounts only effect the water portion of your bill.
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Why am I still receiving a bill, my property is vacant? According to my meter, I haven’t used any water.
In order for service to be discontinued you must complete and submit the “Request for Discountenance of Service” form to our offices at; 281 Exchange Street-Buffalo, New York-14204 or via-email at email@example.com. You will also need to schedule an appointment to have the meter removed from the property which will intern discontinue future invoicing and it also gives Buffalo Water managed by Veolia the opportunity to inactivate the existing account.
Why are homeowners held responsible for water bills when the tenants actually use or waste the water?
According to Water Regulations; 10085.12 & 10085.13, all water charges for the property are the responsibility of the property owner and there can be no abatement for leakage. Delinquent City of Buffalo Water bills, according to water regulations, become liens on the property and left unpaid may result in the loss of the property at the City’s annual tax sale.
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As a property owner, I feel like I’m being robbed. Why do I have to pay two sewer bills?
You don’t actually pay two sewer bills. On your tax bill there is a charge for sewer rent, which underwrites the maintenance and repair of the sewer system infrastructure. This amount is payable twice a year with your property tax bill. The sewer charges reflected on your water/sewer bill are a direct relation to the transporting waste from your toilet directly into the sewer system.
I just purchased this property and now I find out that the old owner never paid their bill and I owe $500. Why do I have to pay the old owner’s bill, I never used one drop of water?
All current and delinquent water bills are to be paid either prior to the closing or at the actual real estate closing. You may wish to check with your attorney to determine if he/she requested a final bill. In any event, your attorney will have to investigate the matter for you. According to Water Board Regulations; 10085.12 (b), the property owner is liable for all current and past due charges for the property.
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How can you turn my water off without first notifying me?
Below you find a list of notices Buffalo Water managed by Veolia provides our Residential and Commercial customers prior to discontinuance of service.
Initial Invoice – Charges for water/sewer consumption over the past 30 to 90 day time period. Remittances of payment on current charges are due 30 days after the bill date noted on your invoice(s).
Second Notice – Customers receive this notice 31 days after the original bill date. Remittance of payment must be fulfilled within 30 days of this notice.
Third Notice – Customers received this notice 61 days after the original bill date. Remittance of payment must be made within 15 days of this notice to avoid interruption of service.
Arrangements to avoid the interruption of service can be made at our offices at 281 Exchange Street – Buffalo – New York 14215.