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Can I be charged for water if I don't have access to the meter?

I've lived in my apartment for two years (Aug/Sep lease) going on to my third. Before I sign the lease I want to make sure I'm not screwing myself over with the water bill.

The first year I did not pay for water, (2012-2013) then, when I signed my 2013-2014 it was all of a sudden added. I checked the legality and didn't see if anything was off (they said there was a separate meter, I was a new tenant, etc) now I'm renewing ym lease with the same place and have a few questions.

-I don't have access to the sub-meter. I have no idea where it is in the apartment (there's no basement access) can I pay based on that?

-Also, they've never sent me certification that they can actually sub meter, in the lease the only thing that's attached is a form saying its legal to do this. Can I ask for the certificate to make sure? I know the utilities are supposed to be low flow, and a new shower head, faucet, toilet were not installed in my apartment after the first year (when I didn't pay water) so I question if they are low flow?

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Submitted Wed, 07/02/2014 - 13:20

If you are renewing your lease, then you are still the same tenant and they would not be able to start charging for sewer and water.

Attorney Satterwhite is correct:  The law in MA re sub-metering for tenant's water usage (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 186, Section 22) states that the landlord can only begin sub-metering at the beginning of a new tenancy.  Beyond that, as you seem to be aware, the law requires the landlord to certify to to the board of health, health department, or other municipal agency or department charged with enforcement of the state sanitary code that the units have been equipped with water saving fixtures. 

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