METERAGE IN NEW YORK.

METERAGE IN NEW YORK.

As so many people located in New York live in apartment houses and individually use large quantities of water, the argument made by the Real Estate Board that the tenants and not the landlords should pay for the water they consume seems reasonable. The meeting of the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity with representatives of the various city civic organizations recently was of more than ordinary importance. In pursuance of the authority vested in the Water Commissioner under Chapter 602 of the Laws of 1916, he is preparing plans for the extension of the water meter system to every building in the city. The Real Estate Board of New York opposed such extension and requested that any definite action in this matter be postponed in order that the next Legislature may modify the law so as to provide some protection for the property owner. The Real Estate Board says : “If the proposed plans were carried through at the present time property owners would suffer seriously. The owner of a building is no more under obligation to furnish water to his tenants than to furnish gas or electricity. Even the most supcficial observer can readily see that, if all dwellings and apartments are metered, while there would be a slight conservation of the water supply, which would, of course, benefit the property owner, there will be a tremendous increase in the owner’s water bills. This system would place the landlord entirely at the mercy of his tenant. A disgruntled tenant, by wasting water, could run up the water bill to an amount greater than the amount of the rent, and the landlord could do nothing. The Board of Health would not permit the owner to take measures to curtail the tenant’s use of water, and, although not responsible, the landlord would be penalized for the waste of water. The Real Estate Board realizes, of course, that there must be additional revenue secured to maintain the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity and the enormous new charges and expenses, but it feels that the burden of providing the money for such additional expenses should not be placed entirely upon the property owner. The Commissioner was advised by the representatives of the real estate organizations present that any wholesale attempt to increase the metering of apartments and dwellings would be strenuously opposed In the Board of Aldermen, and it is probable that the matter will be laid over until some arrangements can be reached which will be satisfactory to all concerned.

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