He Said, She Said: Military renter facing issue with landlord, utilities Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 June 2015
By Shaun and  Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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I live in a housing development where the property owner has installed water wells, where each well supplies water to five to eight houses.   

The property owner has been charging a flat rate fee for water, ranging from $26 during the winter months to $33 during the summer months. Recently they installed meters for each residence and were to charge a flat rate for the first 5,000 gallons of water, then an additional rate for each 1,000 gallons over the initial 5,000 gallons.  Shortly thereafter, the property owner decided not to use these meters due to “software issues.”  

Recently it has come to light that the property owner was not authorized through the Missouri Public Service Commission to sell water, and they have filed suit against them, forcing them to apply for a certificate of convenience, which would authorize them to charge for water.  

If the property owners were not authorized to charge a fee for the water in the first place, shouldn’t the residents of the development be reimbursed by the property owner the fees they have paid up until the time the property owner is authorized to receive payment for the water by the Missouri Public Service Commission?

HE SAID:  In my opinion, your question is entirely a matter of Missouri Law and not being an attorney, I would not feel comfortable offering any advice other than for you to seek legal counsel.  I would suggest you do some research on water rights and civil litigation attorneys in the area and select one who has both a good reputation for ethics and success arguing cases before the local courts.  I will warn you, that there are several attorneys in the area who have worn their welcome out with both the state disciplinary review board and the convening judges … I personally wouldn’t hire an attorney who is an automatic handicap to any case they argue. 

SHE SAID:  My initial response would be yes, but you will need to talk to someone at the Missouri Public Service Commission and ask him or her.  First, I would discuss this with the other members of your development who were affected and see if they are interested in pursuing this issue with you. In the meantime, collect all the receipts or documentation you have to show the payments you made to date and be prepared to provide copies.  Do not release your originals to anyone unless you absolutely have to.  Good luck.

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 June 2015 )