Keep Water Meter Accessible at All Times

The Environmental Control Board (ECB) recently ruled that a landlord could be fined for failing to maintain a water meter in a readily accessible area. Furthermore, the rules don't require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to give landlord prior notice that a water meter will be read.

In July 2011, a DEP inspector called the landlord to say that access to the water meter was blocked by boxes. The inspector was unable to wait for the landlord to arrive to move the boxes, and rescheduled an appointment for Sept. 23. But the inspector showed up on Sept. 9 and again was blocked by the boxes from reading the meter. The violation notice was then issued.

The administrative law judge found that DEP's arrival without notice two weeks before the scheduled appointment was unfair, and dismissed the violation. But DEP appealed and won. The rules don't require DEP to give landlords prior notice that a water meter will be read, but require landlords to maintain the meter unobstructed at all times [Fenster: ECB App. No. 1200228 (5/31/12)].