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Quarterly Water Bill

I am renting my condo out. I'm operating at a loss each month - but the place was vacant for 6 months before they moved in and I really couldn't afford for it to be vacant any longer. The tenants have been there 3 months and I just received my quarterly water bill which was $229.18. The bill comes to me as the county does not allow the bill to be in anyone's name except for the home owner's. In my lease I just stated that the water/sewer would be billed quarterly - no other stipulations were spelled out. Because it is such a large bill I wanted to offer my tenant the opportunity to pay monthly. However this means I have to pay the $229.18 up front. I was wondering how I could do this fairly. Can I charge them a small fee for breaking it up into payments or maybe give them a discount for paying the full amount up front? Or should I just suck it up and eat the cost of offering this convenience to my tenant. I want to be nice and help them out but I'm also strapped for cash and trying to get caught up on bills myself.

You cannot charge them a fee for breaking it up because then you would be charging more that the actual bill is.  You cannot charge extra to help make up for your lack of funds. You may want to consider raising the rent for the next term or next tenants that move in. This will help you bounce back. There is no reason why you should ever rent a property at a loss unless the unit is in terrible conditions, then you may want to consider if it is even safe for others to live in.
Talk to them.  You can offer a 5 or 10% discount on the $229.18 bill if they pay it now, but ask if they would be willing to pay it monthly.  They may not know how high the bill is.  Not only do you not want to pay a large bill (which you can actually pay monthly), the tenants will not want to either.  Let them know monthly how much the water bill is, I am sure they will pay for it then.  For subsequent tenants, or when their lease expires and it goes up for renewal change it to monthly payments.  I too am taking a loss on a few monthly bills (sewer and ADT), but I write them off on my taxes so no real problem for me.  I also give a $25 monthly discount on the rent if the tenants sign a 2 year lease agreement.  Most of my tenants have been military families and they sign the 2 year lease.  We are a retired military family; thus, we like to rent to military families as we know their struggles when relocating so we ask for a reduced security deposit from them too.  We have been renting our home (we had when we were stationed in SC) out for 13 years now.
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