Owner Responsibility For Rental Properties in EMWD Service Boundaries
Property Tax FAQ
As a homeowner, you may elect to use the property you own as a rental property. As the homeowner in a rental situation, you will be responsible for a tenant’s balance if it is left unpaid. EMWD will make every attempt to collect the outstanding balance from your tenant through a final closing statement, closing bill reminder notices, and automatic reminder calls. Should your tenant fail to pay this outstanding balance, the debt will be submitted to a secondary collection agency and the Franchise Tax Board for a minimum period of 6 months and up to a maximum period of 18 months. If your tenant does not pay the closing balance during that time frame, as the property owner you shall become responsible for this balance per California Water Code Section 72100:
The amount of any charges for water and other services or either included in the statement of delinquent and unpaid charges pursuant to subdivision © of Section 72094 shall be added to and become a part of the annual taxes next levied upon the property upon which the water for which the charges are unpaid was used and upon the property subject to the charges for any other district services and shall constitute a lien on that property as of the same time and in the same manner as does the tax lien securing such annual taxes.
Additionally, EMWD’s Administrative Code Section 5.703(a) advises:
Delinquent charges or penalties for water service accumulated by a tenant in the owner’s name shall be collected from the tenant and not from any subsequent tenant, provided if a tenant fails to pay such charges or penalties, the District may refuse to provide service except to the account of the property owner. Notwithstanding the forgoing, in the event a tenant balance remains unpaid, the property owner shall become responsible for the unpaid balance.
In accordance with the California Water Code and EMWD’s Administrative Code, EMWD will submit your tenant’s unpaid closing balance to the Secured Property Tax Roll for the County of Riverside, California, after making an attempt to collect from the tenant for a period of 6 to 18 months. The action of submitting unpaid tenant balances to the Secured Property Tax Roll will begin in 2024.
If the account balance is forwarded to the County, property owners should contact the County’s Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office for information about how to pay the balance or establish payment plans. They may be reached at 951.955.3900 or www.countytreasurer.org.
Why is EMWD collecting delinquent account balances through Property Taxes?
As part of its commitment to customer equity, EMWD has chosen to use this mechanism to collect delinquent account balances to ensure that all other EMWD ratepayers are not burdened with additional costs caused by delinquent or closed accounts.
What gives EMWD the authority to take this action?
What if I cannot pay the amount owed?
EMWD will submit the debt to the County of Riverside if not paid by the deadline. From there, the County of Riverside offers payment options that will need to be coordinated and administered through the County’s Treasurer and Tax Collector office.
Can I submit a partial payment?
Property owners need to pay the entire amount owed by the deadline to prevent the property tax lien.
Are payment plans available?
EMWD is not offering payment plans on the unpaid charges. Property owners may apply for an installment plan through the County.
How can I pay if my account has already been sent to the County of Riverside’s Treasurer and Tax Collectors office?
Contact the County of Riverside to receive instructions.
Why am I responsible for my tenants past due balance?
As the property owner, you are responsible for any unpaid charges at the property under California Water Code 72100.
Can EMWD provide me with the tenant’s payment history?
No. Due to privacy laws, this information is only accessible to the account holder and individuals authorized by the account holder.
Why was I not notified that my tenant was behind on their payments?
EMWD cannot legally disclose a tenant’s account balance or other information about their account until the account is closed, and only if it meets the criteria for submission to the Secured Property Tax Roll.
Why was I not informed about this policy when I began renting my property?
EMWD is proactively notifying property owners that they may be subject to a tenants’ unpaid balance on their property taxes beginning in 2024. The property owner is notified via a letter from EMWD any time a tenant moves in or when they move out and leave a balance that meets the criteria for submission to the County tax roll.
Are there exemptions if the tenant was evicted?
If documentation of the eviction is submitted for review, exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
What time period is considered before reporting to the County of Riverside?
The debt represents any unpaid charges at the time of the account closing. Any debt from the previous year will be submitted after EMWD has made every reasonable collection effort. EMWD submits to the County once per year.
Has EMWD made an effort to collect payment from the tenant?
Yes. Once an account is closed, EMWD sends three pre-collection notices to the tenant. If no payment has been made, a submission is made to a third-party collection agency. If a social security number was provided when the account was opened, the Franchise Tax Board is notified. If all these steps fail, EMWD seeks payment from the property owner.