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Old 12-23-2011, 05:56 PM
 
6 posts, read 41,160 times
Reputation: 14

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My landlord owns the duplex i live in, plus a 'studio cottage' thats in the backyard.
My neighbor who has the other duplex, and also the neighbor in the back cottage have both told me that their electricity and utilities are included in their rent.
They were surprised that mine is not.

Three times in the past few months, my electricity has shut off. Ive called PG&E and they have come out and replaced a blown fuse. However, when my lights came back on, so did my neighbors lights.
I asked the PG&E guy if I was paying for their electricity and he could not tell me for sure.

But why would their lights come on when my lights come on too? What does that mean? Why is their electricity included in their rent, but mine isnt?

Our bills have only been like $50 per month, but then last month suddenly went up to $100 even though we did nothing different.

Am I paying for neighbors electricity? And if so, is this illegal? What should I do?

(P.S. I have since moved out of that place as of last week because the landlord was a total slumlord).
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:17 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
25,510 posts, read 43,710,829 times
Reputation: 22845
You would have to read the lease to see what it says about responsibilities for utility bills. If your fuse blew and they lost power
it does seem likely that they were on your meter. Add to that the fact that they didn't have to pay electric means they are not likely separately metered. Most likely the landlord was just too cheap to have another meter installed for them. One way around this is a simple "private" meter at their home, the landlord reads in ad bills them and then reimburses you every month. Since you are gone now I'd probably leave it alone. The only thing that could be illegal is if the load is too much for the circuit and
not up to code.
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:14 PM
 
23,456 posts, read 44,820,915 times
Reputation: 16103
Can't offer any legal advice... only share my experiences.

First... my understanding is there in nothing wrong with you paying for another unit or common area AS LONG AS THIS IS DISCLOSED IN YOUR RENTAL AGREEMENT.

If not disclosed... the Landlord has a big problem and most likely it is more than just reimbursing you for past utility expenses... perhaps the Certificate of Occupancy does not match the number of units or units are not property registered if required.

A quick visit to the city department of records will show how many legal units are on the property per city records.

PG&E will do a "Prove Up" if you are persistent... at least they did one for me about 12 years ago which in my case proved each of the 3 units were not sharing power... one tenant with a large salt water aquarium stopped paying the electric portion of the bill claiming other units were on his meter... it turned out not to be the case.

If units are required to have a license, be registered or fall under rent control, the owner is responsible for compliance.

There is a specific regulation pertaining to tenants paying for utility used in common areas...

One building I was involved with had two 12 watt night lights that at the time used about 50 cents of power a month... the owner was forced to install a separate meter for the night lights because this was not disclosed in the rental agreements and one tenant made a fuss.
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Old 12-24-2011, 06:16 PM
 
6 posts, read 41,160 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks Ultrarunner. Good info.
No it is not disclosed in the rental agreement. We only noticed it the few times that our fuse blew. Our 2 neighbors were magically-deliciously coincidentally without power then too.

There were SO many problems with this slumlord,not just this. Trying to charge us for stuff that made no sense. Saying they have to deduct from our deposit to "repaint the apartment because of the cigarette smoke smell" when my boyfriend and I are both NON smokers.
Plus the place was infested with ants and roaches, one of the main reasons we had to leave. Landlord said they would have Terminix come like 3 times and they never did.
Now landlord is just trying to come up with any fantasy excuse not to give us our deposit back.

Wish there was a website i could report this slumlord; as well as sue them or tell on them for having us pay other tenants electricity.

SO glad i'm out of there!
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Old 12-24-2011, 06:27 PM
 
1,020 posts, read 2,434,344 times
Reputation: 570
It really depends on how much you paid and your neighbor pay for rent. My landlord, gave me the option to pay 650 a month w/o electric, or 750 a month with electric. I chose the 750 option, told her I will now waste, and its over with. Maybe your neighbors pay more per sq. ft than you? you can do something if all of your rents per sq. ft is the same, and you pay the same rent, but you have to pay for electric.
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Old 12-25-2011, 11:21 AM
 
4,481 posts, read 5,477,780 times
Reputation: 5036
Quote:
Originally Posted by bettiepinup View Post
Thanks Ultrarunner. Good info.
No it is not disclosed in the rental agreement. We only noticed it the few times that our fuse blew. Our 2 neighbors were magically-deliciously coincidentally without power then too.

There were SO many problems with this slumlord,not just this. Trying to charge us for stuff that made no sense. Saying they have to deduct from our deposit to "repaint the apartment because of the cigarette smoke smell" when my boyfriend and I are both NON smokers.
Plus the place was infested with ants and roaches, one of the main reasons we had to leave. Landlord said they would have Terminix come like 3 times and they never did.
Now landlord is just trying to come up with any fantasy excuse not to give us our deposit back.

Wish there was a website i could report this slumlord; as well as sue them or tell on them for having us pay other tenants electricity.

SO glad i'm out of there!

Online Review= http://www.yelp.com/
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:15 PM
 
6 posts, read 41,160 times
Reputation: 14
I have a Yelp account, but I fear if I put this landlords name out there, they will sue me for slander or whatever that is called when you bad-mouth someone publicly.
This person has already offered to sue me for various made-up things.

I guess all i can do is hate on this person and just be glad I'm out of there.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:53 AM
 
23,456 posts, read 44,820,915 times
Reputation: 16103
Quote:
Originally Posted by bettiepinup View Post
I have a Yelp account, but I fear if I put this landlords name out there, they will sue me for slander or whatever that is called when you bad-mouth someone publicly.
This person has already offered to sue me for various made-up things.

I guess all i can do is hate on this person and just be glad I'm out of there.
Don't they say the truth is the best defense against slander/defamation?

Not a lawyer... just repeated something a lawyer once told me...
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