December 5, 2012

Landlord Frequently Asked Questions

Des Moines Water Works recognizes that as a landlord, you have unique customer needs. Here is more information on frequently asked questions.


There is nobody living in my property and water service is off.  Why am I receiving a bill in my name?

Although services are not being actively used, some services are still available to the property.  City of Des Moines ordinance requires all property owners to be billed for non-metered charges (i.e., sewer customer service charge, storm water, solid waste) even if there is no water service to the property.  If there is a meter at the property, DMWW also charges a flat monthly water availability fee.  None of these charges are based on the amount of water consumed.  If the property is vacant for more than 60 days, the City of Des Moines will request that DMWW open an account in the owner’s name and the owner will be responsible for all charges (see copy of Authority to Charge enclosed).

My tenant has moved out, and I just discovered they left a balance for which I’m responsible.  Why?

Iowa Code 384.84 (copy enclosed) places some responsibility on the landlord for paying utility charges.  Unless you have requested Lien Exemption by completing the Owner Form, you will be held responsible for delinquent, unpaid charges left by your tenant.  These charges are usually the result of an unpaid final bill, but in some cases, may be more significant.  Reasons the amount could be higher than one month’s bill include:

  • additional fees placed on the account due to termination fees or unauthorized
  • use of water while in the tenant’s name
  • a broken pay agreement
  • a leak at the property

Des Moines Water Works charges tenants up to $175 deposit that is applied to their final bill. They are billed deposits for the following services: Water $60, Sewer $65.74,     Solid Waste $36, Storm Water $13.26.

To avoid being held responsible for tenants’ delinquent, unpaid bills, complete the Owner Form for each tenant within 30 business days of them moving into your property.

What happens if I don’t complete the owner form the same each time?

The current form that is received will override all other forms on file for that address, and DMWW will update our records to reflect your latest request.  Please make sure you are checking the appropriate boxes each time.

If I request Change of Account (Owner Responsible) to automatically put water in my name when the tenant finals, how do I know when the tenant has left and water is now in my name?

DMWW automatically sends notification to the owner on record when an account is finaled.  You can also call 515.283.8700 to check with Customer Service.  You will receive a bill each month service is in your name.

When a tenant finals their account and water is turned off, how do I get water turned back on?

Please call Customer Service one business day prior to when you are requesting water to be turned on.  DMWW requires that someone be at the property when they turn the water on.  You can prevent your water service from being turned off by selecting Change of Account (Owner Responsible) on the owner form.  With this selection, water will remain on and the account will automatically transfer to your name when the tenant finals.

How do I know you received my owner form?

Most forms are received and processed within 10 business days, and a confirmation letter is sent to you letting you know your form has been received and our records have been updated.  If you don’t receive anything within 20 business days, please call 515.283.8700 to verify that we received the form.  This will allow enough time to get a new form sent in if the original was not received.

Why is the water lien exemption not valid on some properties?

Iowa law (Section 384.84 of the Iowa Code) states property must be a residential and separately metered rental property occupied by a tenant.  A commercial property does not qualify.  Iowa law states the request for lien exemption must be submitted within 30 business days of a new tenant, or within 30 business days of a change in ownership.

DMWW requires that the tenant name provided on the form matches the customer that signed up for water service.

How do I submit the owner form?

We have several different options.  Choose the method most convenient for you!

  • Email:      [email protected]
  • Fax:         515.283.8778
  • Mailed or dropped off toDes Moines Water Works at 2201 George Flagg Parkway,  Des Moines, IA  50321
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