Recognizing that you, as a landlord, have unique customer needs, Des Moines Water Works has provided you with an electronic form to assist you in better managing your properties and protecting your interests. Because of the protection it affords you, landlords are encouraged to complete the form for each property you own or manage. You may also obtain hard copies of the form by contacting Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.
You may request any or all of the following:
The code of Iowa 384.84(3) (d) & (e) protects the landlord from the possibility of a lien for unpaid DMWW water, or City of Des Moines charges which could include: sewer, solid waste, or storm water charges provided that:
- The property is residential or commercial rental property where water service is separately metered and paid directly to the utility by the tenant, and
- The landlord applies for the lien exemption by written notice, and the notice includes the name of the tenant, the address of the property, and date of occupancy.
Please note that DMWW must receive a new written notice on a residential property within 30 business days of a change in occupancy or change in ownership and on a commercial rental property within ten business days of a change in occupancy or change in ownership.
Request for Notice to Owner
By selecting this option, you request to be notified by mail when a tenant is past due on his/her water bill.
By receiving notification, you may further encourage your tenant to pay his/her bill (or arrange for payment on his/her behalf) so you can avoid having the stop box operated and the potential for costly stop box repairs.
DMWW retains the right to operate and turn the stop box off if the tenant’s account becomes delinquent.
This option may be selected at any time during a tenant’s occupancy.
Change of Account - Owner Responsible
By selecting this option, Des Moines Water Works will not turn water service off when a tenant finals their account, but will instead transfer services to your name. Water service remains on at the street.
Although you will be responsible for any metered or non-metered charges, this prevents the stop box from being operated and avoids the risk of costly stop box repairs.
DMWW retains the right to operate and turn the stop box off if account becomes delinquent.
This option may be selected at any time during a tenant’s occupancy.
Owner - Duplex
In accordance with Des Moines Water Works Rules and Regulations 505.9.4.1, duplexes shall install water service in one of the following ways:
- Install individual taps and individual meters for each living unit
- Install one tap and one meter to supply both living units*
*Option 2 - If there is only one stopbox shared by multiple tenants, the account must remain in the owner's name.
Sewer, Solid Waste, and Storm Sewer Charges
City of Des Moines property owners should note city ordinance requires every property to be billed monthly for sewer customer service charges, stormwater, and solid waste, even if the property is not occupied or there is no active water service at the property. Des Moines Water Works also charges a meter availability if the property is connected to the main. These charges are billed to the property owner on record.
- Owner Form (electronic form)
- Owner Form (print form)
- Iowa Lien Code
- City of Des Moines Authority to Charge
Landlord 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.
Iowa Code 384.84 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
To avoid being held responsible for tenants’ delinquent, unpaid bills, complete the Owner Form for each residential tenant within 30 business days or for a commercial tenant within 10 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 14 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 have not received your confirmation letter within the 14 days, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to verify the form has been received. It is the owner's responsibility to verify the form is received for their tenant account.
Why is the lien exemption not valid on some properties?
Iowa law states the request for a residential lien exemption must be submitted within 30 business days of a new tenant or a change in ownership. For a commercial rental it must be submitted within in 10 business days of a new tenant or change in ownership.
DMWW requires that the tenant name provided on the form matches the customer that signed up for water service.
On a commercial rental property the lien exemption is for water charges only. The owner would still be responsible for the other charges.
We do bill and collect for other services that do not fall under the Iowa Code, and the lien exemption is not valid on those services.