Q: What is Cleveland Water required to do in order to let customers know that they are at risk of shut-off (service disconnection) because of a delinquent account?
A: Cleveland Water must notify all account holders at imminent risk of service shut-off for non-payment. Cleveland Water is required by city ordinance to send one letter at least 15 days before shutting-off water service. Cleveland Water also places a door hanger on the front door of the property at least 3 days before shut-off. A tenant who has a Tenant Deposit Agreement with the Water Department would get this notice directly, but otherwise the letter would be mailed to the property owner as the account holder, and a tenant would only get notice from the door hanger.
Q: How does Cleveland Water choose which delinquent accounts it will shut-off?
A: Currently, Cleveland Water may disconnect any account with an overdue amount of $300 or more.
Q: Does Cleveland Water have a hearing process to try and prevent service shut-offs?
A: Yes. Cleveland Water has the Water Review Board, which holds hearings for property owners or tenants (with a Tenant Deposit Agreement) who have, or will soon have, their water service shut-off.
Q: Who can have a hearing before the Water Review Board?
A: In order to qualify for a Water Review Board hearing, you have to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- The property must be a residential property and the requestor is the property owner OR a resident with an approved Cleveland Water Tenant Deposit Agreement (see more information about getting a Tenant Deposit Agreement at [insert link]; and
- The customer has received a shut- off/termination notice.
Q: What is a “residential property”?
A: For the Water Review Board, a residential property is a single or multi-family dwelling with four or less units. If you are a renter (tenant) requesting a hearing, you must also provide proof of residency for the disputed period (such as an electric, gas or cable bill) with your written or faxed request.
Q: How does a customer request a Water Review Board hearing?
A: Qualifying customers must submit a written letter or complete and sign a Water Review Board Hearing Request Form, which is available on the Cleveland Water website (http://www.clevelandwater.com/water-review-board) or in person at the Cleveland Water Customer Service Center (1201 Lakeside Ave.). The request must be completed by the person who is financially responsible for the bill and must be sent to Cleveland Water within ten (10) days of receiving the shut-off/termination notice. You will also have to provide proof of residency in the property.
Q: How can customers submit the letter request or completed Water Review Board hearing request form?
A: You may submit the written letter/completed request form and your proof of residency in the following ways:
- By fax at (216) 664-4007
- By mail to Water Review Board, 1201 Lakeside Ave Cleveland, Ohio 44114.
- In person at Cleveland Water main office (1201 Lakeside Ave.) Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Q: How does Cleveland Water tell its customer’s about the Water Review Board?
A: Cleveland Water is required to provide information about the Water Review Board in the shut-off/disconnection notice they send to customers. Cleveland Water customer service representatives do not tell customers about the Water Review Board when they call customer service, but the customer service representatives are supposed to try to resolve customer disputes without the need for the Water Review Board.
Q: Can customers who have not yet received a shut-off/termination letter request a hearing with the Water Review Board?
A: No. Eligibility for the Water Review Board requires that the customer be at risk of immediate service termination. No other disputes are heard by the Water Review Board.
Q: How are disputes over a water bill handled when service has not been shut-off?
A: The only bill-dispute process (where a shut-off has not been scheduled) is to go through Cleveland Water’s customer service process. If a customer is not satisfied with what the customer service representative is telling them, the customer should ask to speak with a supervisor in the customer service department.
Q: How does Cleveland Water respond to requests for hearings?
A: The account of the customer requesting a hearing is reviewed for eligibility. If the customer meets the eligibility requirements, they are contacted and a hearing is scheduled. If they are not eligible, a denial letter is mailed to them.
Q: Does the customer’s water service remain connected while going through the hearing process?
A: Yes. The water service will remain on for customers while they proceed through the Water Review Board process.
Q: Can a customer bring someone to help them at the Water Review Board hearing?
A: Yes, a customer may bring a friend or family member with them to the Water Review Board hearing.
Q: When should a customer contact Legal Aid about a problem with their water bill or service?
A: You should contact Legal Aid for help if you have received a shut-off/termination notice and submitted your written request for a Water Review Board hearing within 10 days of receiving the notice, but Cleveland Water denied your request. In addition, if your water service was shut-off without receiving written notice (both by mail and by a door hanger), you should contact Legal Aid.
For information about delinquent Cleveland Water Department bills and property taxes, click here.