(a)   (1)   The maintenance of utility service connections being a substantial and valuable benefit to property, any owner of real estate premises maintaining such utility service connections shall assume responsibility for the total of all City utility service charges levied against the premises during such ownership, in the same manner as the person who actually incurred the charges. This assumption of responsibility shall be a necessary condition to the continuance of utility services at the premises, and the failure to pay such charges when billed in accordance with the provisions of this division shall constitute grounds for the City to do any or a combination of the following:
         A.   To refuse to initiate or restore utility services at the premises;
         B.   To shut off utility services at the premises in accordance with Section 1050.02; and
         C.   To place a lien on the premises in the aggregate amount of any unpaid City utility service charges and related penalty and administrative fees.
      (2)   Similarly, the property owner shall be responsible for paying charges in connection with utility services consumed at leased property where such services have not been shut off upon the vacation of the premises by the last tenant who maintained a utility account with the City.
   (b)   Property owners who lease property to commercial or residential tenants under circumstances in which the tenants establish individual accounts for City utility services, shall be required to complete and sign an acknowledgment of responsibility concerning the obligation to pay charges for utility services as described in this Section 1050.05. The acknowledgment shall be in a form established by the City Manager and shall provide for a notice address to be designated by the property owner so that the City may notify the property owner pursuant to Section 1050.02, in the event that a tenant's utility account becomes delinquent. For commercial properties and single-unit residential properties, property owners must sign and return the acknowledgment form to the City before utility services can be initiated or restored for each tenant at the leased property. For multi-unit residential properties, property owners must sign and return a blanket acknowledgment form for each building in which they lease residential units. If a residential property owner should fail to submit the acknowledgment form, the City will transfer any utility accounts concerning the building for which the property owner has not signed an acknowledgment form into the name of the property owner, and the property owner will then be billed and assume primary responsibility for payment for utility services as if he or she were the direct consumer of such utility services.
(Ord. 00-146.  Passed 1-3-01.)