Water charges responsibility

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Who is Responsible for Water and Wastewater Charges?

The Municipal Act, 2001, authorizes the City to place unpaid water and wastewater fees and charges on the tax roll for the property to which the services were provided regardless of who was in receipt of the said service. As such, property owners need to be aware that although billing and payment notifications may be sent to a person other than the property owner, subsection 398 (2) of the Municipal Act, 2001 authorizes the City to add unpaid water and wastewater fees and charges to the tax roll of the property to which the public utility was supplied. In such circumstances, the fees and charges added to the tax roll will have priority lien status as described under section 1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.

In order to assist property owners who direct water and wastewater billings to a tenant, Alectra Utilities (formerly Horizon Utilities) endeavours to notify property owners of tenant/account holder arrears at 30 calendar days beyond the due date. If the account remains unpaid, the water/wastewater arrears will be added to the property’s tax roll when the account is 60 calendar days beyond the due date.

Owners with Residential Properties

Hamilton City Council has approved a change to the water and wastewater/storm billing policy.  All residential accounts established on or after June 1, 2018, must be opened and billed in the name of the registered owner(s) of the property, and not the name of any tenant(s)

Any existing accounts currently billed with tenants will remain until the tenant moves out.  At that time, the water account will revert back to the owner.  The water bill will then be mailed to the owner’s mailing address as listed on the property tax assessment roll.  To update this mailing address information, the owner may contact the City of Hamilton’s Taxation office in writing either by mail at 71 Main Street West, Hamilton Ontario, PO Box 2040 Stn LCD 1, L8N 0A3, or by email to taxsupport@hamilton.ca

Alectra Utilities, as the City’s water billing agent, will continue to accept payments from tenants/other non-owners (such as property manager), however, it remains the property owner’s responsibility to ensure bills are paid on time.

- Residential Tenant Billing Change FAQs

- City of Hamilton Report: Water and Wastewater / Storm Third Party Billing Arrangements

Property Owner Contact Information

Typically, water meters in a home or business are read using a touchpad device. Access to the meter is required by City staff or its authorized agents to collect the read data. Additionally, the City or its authorized agents may require, on occasion, access to a property to perform maintenance on the water metering equipment. There are occasions when it is not possible to obtain access through a tenant. In these cases, the property owner is contacted to obtain the necessary access. If unbilled consumption occurs due to a delay in obtaining access to perform a water meter read, the resulting water/wastewater fees will follow the normal arrears protocol described above, up to and including the transfer of water/wastewater arrears being added to the property’s tax roll.

The ability to contact the property owner regarding access issues where there are tenants residing at a property is dependent upon having accurate contact information for the property owner. Contact information may include mailing address, phone number(s) and email address. It is solely the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that Alectra Utilities is provided with their current contact information. To update contact information or make inquiries regarding this notification, please contact our office.