Can my landlord be legally required to pay my water bill after a bad leak?
I rent a 2 bedroom trailer in a mobile home park. Every time the weather gets cold the pipes under the mobile home break and leak. My landlord won't replace the pipes; she just approves temporary fixes. My water bill is now $300 this is the exact amount I pay in rent. Can my landlord be required to pay this?
Your landlord is required to keep the pipes in working condition. If the pipes are defective and not working properly and costing you unnecessary sums of money, then you need to inform your landlord that it may be in breach of its duties and that you are going to be withholding rent for each month that he fails to fix the pipe and results in an increased water bill. This will certainly get his attention. I also suggest that you call the consumer protection department as they may be able to crack down on the landlord for his failure to keep the property in a reasonably working condition. If you can afford a lawyer to draft this letter to the landlord, then you should make the investment.
Two different issues here.
1) You have good grounds to force the landlord to make permanent fixes; the landlord is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability (a term implied in all leases; the idea is the landlord must provide a home that is inhabitable, which includes running water) and also of the lease itself--you are paying money to have a home with working water; since the value of a home with unreliable water is less, you are not getting what you paid for.
2) However, as to whether the landlord would have to pay the excess bill (note: she wouldn't have to pay your basic water bill, if you are responsible under the lease; she *might* be responsible for excess amounts over the norm) will depend on the degree to which you can show intentional bad faith on the landlord's part. If the pipes burst once, for example, the landlord would not be responsible--things happen. If they burst 20 times in short order owing to bad repairs made deliberately to save the landlord money no matter what the impact on you, there's an excellent chance you could hold the landlord responsible for the excess bill. In between those extremes, it will depend on circumstances.
Note: you will have to sue, or at leas threaten to, to force an unwilling landlord to make repairs and to try to recover any excess water bills.