State law recognizes that the primary parties to the utility supply transaction are the City, as supplier, and the property benefited by utility service availability.
Minnesota Statute 444.075, s.3(e), authorizes the City to charge the owner and to certify unpaid charges against the property served as a tax. Minnesota Statute 325E.025, s.2, distinguishes other types of utility services (such as electrical, gas, propane, and telephone) from water utilities, recognizing that water utilities provide a unique benefit to the property and are essential to human habitation. In fact, the law prohibits owners from renting out any premises without a connection to the water system. Gas, electric, propane and phone utilities provide a benefit primarily to the end user - accordingly, the landlord is not responsible for their payment and unpaid charges cannot be assessed against the property.
State law also recognizes that part of the charge for water utilities recovers the cost of the infrastructure and its maintenance. Minnesota Statute 444.075, s.3(a).