On Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 12:19:39 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
That assumes that you do the work yourself. I agree, you or I
could do it cheaply. But..... This is a multi unit condo and I'm
not sure that in NJ you can do your own electrical/plumbing work that
requires a permit in that case. Especially when you have a hostile
neighbor. So, in this case, even if he has the skills, it's
probably a job for a pro. Still, when the neighbor suggested the
Killawatt idea, I would have looked into a metering solution that
would fix the whole thing, asked her if she was willing to pay half
the cost of the work, etc...... That might have made the $50 look
Also, OP just posted for the first time something about the condo
legal documents covering this? What's up with that? That would
seem to be the most relevant thing at this point, what it says
Yes, but if they are sharing the electricity, they damn well be sharing the
cost of figuring out what the share is. So, if a whole new utility service
is required, the neighbor will be paying at least half of it. That puts
"being reasonable" in a new light.
OP is making up numbers out of his butt. If he develops some real numbers,
the neighbor would be a dope to require a lot of infrastructure to get the
estimate down to a gnat's ass.
If the neighbour agreed to $50 a month at purchace, and paid $50 a
month for a period of time, and nothing has changed, why start to
The option ,if there is nothing in the condo agreement, is to install
a second well and split the cost . To be fair, a 50-50 split would
include a new well pump for both wells with the procedes of the sale
of the old pump split evenly.
This would be quite expensive for both parties, but WOULD solve the
problem permanently. The condo agreement would also need to be
Here's the deal...
1) We don't know what the total cost to the OP is and, I suspect,
neither does he.
2) Assuming there was no well to share. What would it cost each of
them? A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay
on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same
amount in Boston. (pulled off the web, but some will be higher, some lower)
3) If the OP paid for the well, pump, water softener, and baseboard heat
in the pressure tank room or whatever, he's got a LOT of skin in the
game before the first glass of water is drawn in the neighbors condo.
4) There are three people in the neighbor's condo and one in the OP's.
Are you really going to argue that their usage is equal?
5) When you consider the capital improvements just to HAVE the well,
pump, water conditioner, etc. AND the monthly recurring cost for
electricity and salt and then look at what the average city water bill
is, that $50 is not a bad deal.
6) Finally, and where he screwed up, was he should have had the
agreement reduced to writing. Period. They had an agreement. I'm not
saying that it was a good agreement or a bad agreement. It doesn't
appear that it was contingent upon who used what or how much the
electricity costs turned out to be. It was, more or less, "If you will
provide me with water, I will pay you $50/mo.)
7) Now the neighbor says "F**k you! I'm not paying anything"
They could have "agreed" at the outset for the neighbor to pay $200 a
month and that's fine and had it been reduced to a contract the courts
would uphold it and the neighbor would be on the hook for that amount.
You can negotiate anything and you can contract to do anything. Once
you do, you're liable.
On Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 3:39:57 PM UTC-4, Unquestionably Confused wrote:
Good point on the water softener, I had overlooked that. I've never
had one, but it typically requires putting salt in, servicing it, etc.
Given the OP is paying for it, likely lugging the bags around,
doing the work, $50 starts to sound quite reasonable to me. And if
there is no agreement that the other party is responsible for repairs,
pump replacement, softener replacement, etc, then it's probably a
The OP said that he's watering the lawn 2 or 3 times a day. I wonder
if the neighbor had any input on that insanity and if that might
be one thing that lead to wondering where the money is going, who's
really using it, etc.
In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 13 Sep 2015 14:39:52 -0500, Unquestionably
No. She's offering 15 dollars a month. He put that at the end
somewhere, so I think a lot of people missed it.
Usually, but not forever. If no time peiiod is specified, the court
will assume a reasonable time. Like maybe a year. Or maybe less.
Then they get to renegotiate.
And his efforts with the salt bags should be considered, as well as that
there are 3 people in the other unit..
On Monday, September 14, 2015 at 3:35:13 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:
I don't think a court would even consider a "reasonable" time period.
If there was no time period agreed to, I'd say the contract is good for
as long as both parties are OK with it. Say a guy comes to your house
selling bottled water. You just agree to take 10 gallons a week, for $10.
How long does that bind either party for? I'd say the same thing, as long
as both parties are still OK with it.
All these problems are very good reasons why one should never get
into this kind of thing to begin with. And if somehow you do, for
sure when you're agreeing to something like this, there should be
a written, signed contract in place. If I were the OP, I'd have a
section in there stating that I was not responsible for water quality,
for any service interruption due to power loss, eqpt failure, etc.
And it should also spell out who is responsible for paying for the
repair and/or replacement of these systems.
In alt.home.repair, on Mon, 14 Sep 2015 04:40:31 -0700 (PDT), trader_4
This is not the same situation. The water guy can sell water to anyone
and many people. The OP is limited to one customer and he has to be the
guy who lives next door. And the plan when the house was split was for
the guy next door to share water expenses. But it probably won't go to
court so we'll never know. You can have the last word.
We will never know not because it won't get to court, but because the OP is
withholding information from us. he just wants someone to tell him what he
wants to be told, so he is skewing the question and not giving us the facts.
On Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 12:49:22 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:
I didn't say they were exactly the same thing, only that there are people
here saying that this contract binds the two parties forever, because
no time period was specified. And the example I gave is one where
similarly no time period was specified, so are the parties there
responsible for that contract forever? If the homeowner decides he
doesn't like the water after two weeks, does he have to keep taking it?
We presume that's true, but we don't know the actual history or
what's in the master deed, etc.
But it probably won't go to
From what I've heard so far, I wouldn't be so sure. Plenty
of cases like this wind up in court. He says they are no
longer on speaking terms. And contrary to what some people
say, I don't see accurately monitoring the actual usage,
determining how to split not only the costs of electric,
but the fair cost of the existing investment, maintenance, etc.
as trivial. It's not trivial from the monitoring eqpt that
would be required, nor is it trivial to get parties that are
no longer talking to agree on the other numbers that have
great variability. Their best bet might be arbitration, if they
can agree to that.
shhh! That's a secret. The OP doesn't want to tell us!
Use hour meters. Take a month of data. You know how many hours the
sprinklers run, so do some math. There are to be found typical household
water usage numbers for one person and a family of three.
There are numbers to be found re how long a water well system will work
before needing repairs and replacements. Do a reserve study, like condos
all do (some much poorer than others). Build reserves from each party into
the monthly cost, and keep track of what is in the reserve account, what is
spent from the reserve account. If the reserve runs out of money, collect
more from both parties.
That is a start, and not all that hard. This is what will be done, after
all the hand wringing and saying it can't be done. It can be done now, or
spend more money and go to arbitration and then do it. Or spend even more
money and go to court, and THEN do it. Just do it!
And, do the hour meter and math four times a year, to account for seasonal
variations. Once you have that done, you only need to re do it if there are
significant changed circumstances.
The OP has pissed off his neighbor, and he is not telling us about that. He
is pissing me off too.
What happens when your neighbor or one of her guests gets sick from the
well water you are effectively selling her?
Are you having the water professionally* tested periodically?
(Professionally does not mean the idiot in the orange vest at HD.)
Are you taking any steps to ensure the water is safe?
Do you have business liability insurance to cover your ass?
Both are excellent points and go right back to what I opined earlier.
The time for an attorney is BEFORE you act - and that goes to both the
OP and the neighbor. Now that you have both pointed out other areas of
liability we haven't even discussed, is $50 a month still a bad deal?
Wow, hadn't considered that. That changes everything.
The well must be owned by the condo assoc and on it's own official service drop with its own meter.
Electric service and other maintenance costs need to be billed to condo assoc.
Water meters need to be installed to determine each users share of the bill.
Water softener needs to be serviced/maintained by paid third party.
This ditz sure opened up an expensive can of worms!
In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 13 Sep 2015 05:44:03 +0000, NG
Are you sure she wants it, or would insist on, using the kill-o-wattt,
for every month. If I were in her shoes, I'd want some real idea of
how much it cost to run the pump, and I'd want to measure each one for a
week or two or maybe a month or 2 or 3 momths, but after that, I'd agree
on a price and just pay it, Note how much electicity is now per KwH,
and if it goes up enough to warrant redoing the arithmetic, raise the
price by the same percentage. WRite all this down so if you ever end
up in small claims court you'll have a record. After you've gathered
data for months, give her two copies and have her sign one and return it
You definitely need to use your litle meter on the pump. Most people
have no idea how much their pump is running, and how much more it runs
when the lawn is watered. And how much electricity that takes and how
much that costs. That's what she wants to know and I don't blame her.
For all she knows, you've been making a 35 dollar profit on her, over
400 dollars a year.
Does the water conditioner system require electricity? It does require
The baseboard heater runs a lot more in the winter than the summer, but
the electric company ought to be able to tell you how much it costs to
heat a room the size of your pump room. Would the room be heated if
there were no pump in it? Do you have other things that are just for
you in that room. If yes and yes, than you have to pay more than half
of the cost of the heat. If No and No, than split it down the middle.
That takes almost no electricity, right. The timer and the valve
transformer. You can put the little Kill-o-Watt meter on that for a
a couple weeks, and extrapolate to the whole summer, then either charge
more in the summer or average it out for the year.
Just like the cost for the baseboard heater, firguure out how much it
costs per season and eiither charge more in the winter or average it out
for the whole year.
When she bought her condo she was in a great mood and agreed to
whatever, but now she's had time to think and she wonders if she's
overpaying. I don't blame her.
Maybe she' having financial problems and the fight is just an excuse to
not pay, but I think you should still meter the pump for a month or
more, and the sprinkler system for a week or more (assuming its a week
that you actually sprinkle.) make detailed notes about start and stop**
settings and how you calculate the expense. And when you're done send
it to her with a new calculation of what she should pay every month.
It may be that she's overpaid ever since she moved in.
**Does she have access to the pump room. If not***, maybe you should
send her a note, a text on the phone seems like a good place to make a
record of it, that you're going to be plugging in the kill-o-watt meter
at 10AM Sunday if she'd like to watch and you can note the readings
together, and every Sunday at 10, you'll write down t he results, if she
wants to be there. And say when you'll switch to the sprinkler system,
one of thosse sundays at 10, of course. Find a day and time that's
convenient for both of you. If she never gets back to you, that will be
***Even if she has access, that just makes it less necessary for her to
be there when you take your readings. She can come an hour later and
make her own readings and they should be similar to the ones you take ,
and write down. Or if she comes a day later, they should be 1/7th of
the way between your start and a week later. But this is more
calculations and it would be best if you were there together to write
everything down. You should do that, and maybe she should too., sort of
like counting votes as tallied on the back of mechanical voting
machines, all three poll watchers either write down what's there or look
on the official originally blank form to see what the other has written.
I don't think she wants that.
She showing you the sort of thing she wants. You can get the same chart
for NJ. If you can't find it call the power company and ask them. Or
call the property management compnay that the condos use. They probably
manage more than one property and even if they don't, they might have
this or they'll go find it. That's part of their job, although they may
want to charge extra!!
So she's offered 15. So that makes the chance that she's in financial
problems much less. 15 might be right. How do you know it's not?
I haven't read the other replies, but I'll bet they'll say it costs
barely any elecricity to run the sprinkler system, and the only thing
that does cost is running the pump.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.