My landlord has not paid their water bill

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If you live in a manufactured housing community AND are facing water shut-off because the park owner has not paid their water bill, find out what to do to protect yourself and learn what your legal rights are. #6518EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, you should read this if you live in a manufactured housing community in Washington State and you are facing water shut-off because the park owner has not paid the water bill. We will explain your legal rights and what you can do to protect yourself. If you need legal advice, see the contact info below.

You can learn more about the new protections and how they might apply to your situation in the Public Utilities resource.

Yes, if you own your home and rent the lot it sits on, and this is also true of your neighbors, you probably live in a manufactured housing community. This means the Washington Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord Tenant Act protects you in this situation.

If you are not sure if you live in a manufactured housing community, read I live in a trailer, motor home, or fifth wheel in an RV park. I pay rent for the lot. Do I have rights? to learn more.

Maybe. If the utility company sends you a letter or notice threatening shut-off, it may say it is because your landlord has not paid the utility bill.

Your lease agreement or Park Rules may say paying for the water is the landlord's responsibility. If you do not have a lease agreement, or your lease does not say anything about this, there may be an established course of conduct showing the water is your landlord's responsibility. Keep reading to learn what this means.

Has your landlord or your local utility ever billed you for water usage? Has your landlord ever told you or given you written notice that water utilities are your responsibility? If the answer to both questions is no, a judge probably would decide there is a "course of conduct" showing that paying for the water utility is the landlord's responsibility.


A landlord who agreed to pay for some or all utilities when you moved into the park might be able to make you start paying for utilities at the end of a lease term. You should read very carefully any new rental agreement the landlord offers you. It must include a statement that, if utilities are going to be charged independent of the rent during the term of the rental agreement, the landlord must lower your rent proportionately. You can read the law about this at 59.20.060(j).

You can try to negotiate the new rental agreement with the landlord to avoid these new utility charges. But a landlord who wants to can force you to pay for utilities even if you do not want to or do not agree to pay.

If you refuse to or do not pay the new utility charges, the landlord may have grounds to evict you. Get legal advice before refusing to pay for utilities after the landlord asks you to start paying for them. See contact info below.

If your landlord does not pay the water bill, you can ask to have the services to your home be put in your name. Then you can subtract your water bill payments from your rent. You do not have to pay the landlord's unpaid water bill. You can read the state law about this at RCW 35.21.217.

Here is the routine you must get into after getting the water bill in your name. You must do this every time you pay the water bill:

  • You pay the water bill.

  • You give your landlord written notice of your intent to pay reduced rent.

  • You deduct that amount from your next rent payment.

The notice or letter must state your address, your name, and your intended actions. We have a sample letter you can use below.

Yes. You must have it hand delivered to the landlord or mailed to the address stated in the rental agreement, or taped, pinned, or otherwise posted at the landlord's home and mailed. You should keep a copy of all notices to and from the landlord.

The landlord should not evict you, end or refuse to renew your rental agreement, raise your rent or add other tenant obligations, cut services, or change park rules in response to any of the following you have done in good faith:

  • filed a complaint about the landlord violating the law

  • asked the landlord to follow any law

  • started a lawsuit against the landlord

  • taking part in a homeowner's group

If the landlord ends the rental agreement, increases your obligations, or cuts services within 120 days after you do any of these things, a judge could presume the landlord is retaliating against you. If the landlord then tries to evict you after retaliating against you, you can use the landlord's retaliation to fight the eviction. Read Can my landlord do that? to learn more.

Contact any of the agencies below to talk to a lawyer.

You can call the Attorney General's Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution (MHDR) Program at 1-866-924-6458. They have the power to negotiate with the landlord, investigate the situation more, decide if the landlord has violated the law and, in some situations, issue fines.

You can also talk to a lawyer.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Download Sample Letter to Landlord

Last Review and Update: Sep 01, 2023
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