Court of Appeals Holds that Property Owner Is Financially Responsible for Unpaid Water Bills of Its Tenants

On April 12, 2012, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals decided Euclid Street, LLC v. D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, No. 09-CV-894, slip op. (D.C. Apr. 12, 2012) in which it considered whether a property owner is financially responsible for the unpaid water bills of its tenants. The plaintiff-appellant in this case – a property owner – filed suit against the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (“WASA”) seeking declaratory and injunctive relief after WASA billed the plaintiff-appellant for the unpaid water bills of its tenants and then filed a lien against its property after it refused to pay. The trial court dismissed the complaint. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal on the grounds that, pursuant to D.C. Code § 34-2407.02 and related regulations, “the obligation to satisfy outstanding water service fees runs with the property where the water was consumed.” Accordingly, the Court of Appeals concluded, “WASA was authorized to bill [the property owner] for the delinquent tenant accounts and to file a lien against its property when [the property owner] refused to pay amounts that had been overdue for more than sixty days.”