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Old 05-13-2008, 02:28 PM
31 posts, read 123,050 times
Reputation: 16


My fiance and I relocating to LA and we're considering taking a 2-bedroom apartment that we've found with a month-to-month lease. The landlord said that we are responsible for all utilities; however, he charges us for the water and we pay him. Is this common practice? How much is the average water bill for two people in an apartment? How about when you add the use of a washer/dryer?

We've moved to other cities before without meeting the landlord or visiting the place first, however we've always had someone in that city to act as our agent. We don't have that luxury this time, and I'm just trying to figure out if we're getting shafted. I'm fine with paying him for the water; I'm just wondering if he's inflating the price.

Also, is it common to pay your rent by direct deposit in LA? We never did this in Chicago or anywhere else, but I know a friend who has to do it in LA and this landlord has given us his account number to deposit our deposit. I guess I'm a little hazy on how month-to-month leases work.

Thanks for any help you can give me!
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:31 PM
11,715 posts, read 36,663,884 times
Reputation: 7522
A lot of older buildings/complexes don't have water meters on each unit so the residents split the whole bill. I rented in a place like that once and the bill for water/sewer/trash ran about $25/mo for an apartment I had alone. (They divided the bill by the number of residents, not apartments)
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:31 PM
830 posts, read 2,618,325 times
Reputation: 381
It depends I guess. In my complex I pay the utilities directly to the utility companies. My gas bill is $5 per month and my electric/water is about $30 per month. I get billed every 2 months for electric/water. Monthly for gas. But it has nothing to do with the landlord.
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:34 PM
27,075 posts, read 54,279,688 times
Reputation: 21277
I would be wary of anything that is left open-ended and beyond my control...

I would negotiate a fixed price and be done with it... it might be a way around Rent Control?

Ask him how much the water is and if you agree, tell him to write it into the lease... $25 per month for water... or whatever the amount is...
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:33 PM
169 posts, read 989,857 times
Reputation: 143
Default Going through the same thing in Las Vegas right now

Im working with a local assembly woman in my district to try to change the law and ban such billing methods. READ MY STORY:

Does anyone know what Ratio Utility Billing Sytem is and master meters??

RATIO UTILITY BILLING SYSTEM (RUBS)- is a method of billing used for utilities based upon a formula of square footage, number of occupants, and rooms.

MASTER METERS- can be for Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewage
A master meter is One meter used for a whole apartment community.
No indiviual meters, just one big one or a few to provide utilities for the apt community. can be 80 units or even a few thousand.


Lets say you were looking into an apt for rent:

2/2 bath unit- Lush Landscaping, pools, hot tub, saunas, ect
$1100.00 + $25.00 flat rate for water, trash and sewer= $1125.00

2/2 bath unit- Lush landscaping, pools, hot tub, saunas, ect
$1075.00 + $40.00 for water, sewer, and trash based upon a formula of occupany or the RUBS billing method. This is what the leasing agent tells you, "your bill will never exceed this".
$1075.00 + $40.00= $1115.00

you go with at #2 A dollar saved is a dollar earned RIGHT!

Well, the first of the month comes around and you get your first bills
$1075.00 Rent
$80.00 Water
$30.00 Sewer
$5.00 for Trash
$4.25 service fee- this is what the 3'rd party billing company charges
Well, my grand total is $1194.25

WOW..........should have went with apt #1, you would have saved $69.25
Do you see where the dishonesty happens.
In order for the Apartment complexes who use such billing methods to stay competitve, they drop the rental rate a few dollars less than another apt community. What they forget to tell you is that they will get back the money plus some when the first of the month comes around.

When you complain about this practice, some people ask, well was it in your lease and how did you not know.

First, you have to consider this.
When you factor in your own water consumptions from past experience, you dont think BIG MONEY.
What the leasing agents forget to tell you or do not fully understand is:
1. all tenants pay for the leaks
2. all tenants pay for the pools
3. all tenants pay for the lanscaping
4. all tenants pay for vacant units- which tend to have a higher vacany rate, due to price of the unit and utilties.
5. alll tenants pay for every common area
6. all tenants pay more, when other tenants move in additional people and pets that are not on the lease.
7. On top of all that, they all come up with a fomula based upon square footage, number of people ON the LEASE and bedrooms.
So, if you are barely home and its just you living in a 2 bedrooms, you will still see a water bill that does not reflect your consumption. You can get a water bill for $55.00, $20.00 Sewer, $5.00 for trash, 4.25 service fee.
Oh, the people who have it the hardest are the ones with electricty and GAS..........how will they survive this year!

You would probably be working in the Public Utilities office, and owning your own home with your six figure salary!

However, if you have been a victim of this scam....either you dont care and just the pay the bill because there is not a person to complain to, since its not regulated. Or you stay away from places like this and have learned your lesson the hard way.
Burn me once- SHAME ON YOU
Burn me twice- SHAME ON ME

How about we do away with the whole practice and NOBODY ELSE GET BURNED.

Just to let everyone know........If you dont think this can affect you, you can be wrong. If you live in a apartment and are currently paying a flat rate, they can change it, with 90 days notice. So, the lovely flat rate you might pay right now. Lets say $30.00, includes water, sewer and trash.
You can see that hike all the way up to $120.00 a month if not more.

So, the next time you see a beautiful apt community and all the lovely landscape. Stop and ask yourself, will I be paying for this through my utilities. Shouldnt the cost of such beauty, be included in your rent.

The next time you rent an apt and they are not on a flat rate or using individual meters, meaning you pay the utility company youself.
Get it in writing on how much you utility fees will be. If they dont, turn around and take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of other apt communites that are still using flat rates and promoting honest and transparency
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:06 AM
1 posts, read 20,982 times
Reputation: 12
I've been in my apartment since Sept 15th and my first utilities bill was invoiced through ista North America. I set up an online billing through my back and paid my bill to ista. A couple weeks later I received a refund from ista and a letter telling me to pay my utilities directly to Archstone (complex name) Now when I pay my rent online the utilities are tacked on to my balance (rent amount) This is all new to me and to tell you honestly seams a little fishy. At least I'm getting a discription of what I'm paying I just don't like giving this place more money then I think they deserve :/
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:21 AM
1,319 posts, read 3,781,028 times
Reputation: 1130
You are entitled to a copy of the water bill and the math used to determine your share. There are several ways to divide the bill. Some properties base it on square footage of the apt, some on number of tenants, some on number of bedrooms.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:04 AM
Location: The D-M-V area
13,692 posts, read 16,050,208 times
Reputation: 9536
My building uses a 3rd party called AUM.

I pay them about 40 - 60 per month depending on charges for water, sewer, trash.

Charges which used to be included in the rent were kicked back on the resident a couple of years ago.

I pay my own gas and electric.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:43 PM
2 posts, read 27,928 times
Reputation: 10
I knew it was a scam when my bill went from $36 to $68.93 in one month in Sacramento, ca and I am single in a medium to small 1bdrm. They also told me they estimate by unit size, number of people in each unit. However I have a neighbor who has 2brm with 2 occupants and his bill was the same amount as mines. So, there is some dishonesty in that right there. Also the Manager refused to give me copy of the overall bill for the complex, as well as the company they are using. Im on a fixed income, disabled, and feel like i'm being scammed. It takes away from my food for the month, and laundry money. its a major financial burden and unfair to single occupants in single bdrm, low income, fixed income people. While people with more rooms and triple the occupants get to pay less than they use. I don't have kids, or boyfriend so why should I I have to pay for their bill and a portion of their usage. It targets the poor people worse, they pay more with little income and people who can afford bigger apts with food stamps and 6 kids and a higher income pays less than they should be its unfair. and to not get verification of what you are paying a portion of and dishonesty about how its estimated says there must be something to hide, seeing it is my right to see the bill. I know its a scam! I wish there was a way to have an investigator look into it for tenants to assure they are protected from fraudulent billing, it makes you feel helpless!
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:11 PM
1 posts, read 4,550 times
Reputation: 10
RATIO UTILITY BILLING SYSTEM (RUBS) has just been implemented at our apartment complex too, where we have lived for 14 years. We are in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. The management is saying that it promotes water conservation and also that they are having us pay for utilities in lieu of raising the rent. I submit that this is hogwash. I suspect that the new owner of the building is strapped for cash and is using RUBS to make some money.

Last month we were billed $85 for water, gas, trash removal, and billing fee. This month it is $95.
We have no control over our neighboring apartment dwellers' water usage (about $50 was for water) nor do we have any way of determining what the actual shared meter bills actually are. This is a great way for landlords to gouge tenants.

Last month they sent someone around to change all the showers and sinks to extremely low-flow fixtures. It's difficult to wash one's hair in the shower - the flow is that slow! If the bill isn't reduced by at least 40-50 percent I will know that they are profiting from this scam.

Any information as to tenants rights regarding RUBS would be appreciated.
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