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Old 05-26-2011, 09:07 AM
 
4 posts, read 17,406 times
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Please I need some help figuring this out!

I have been living in a duplex apartment in a BK brownstone for almost two years. I have had one (and at times 2) roommate(s). Each of us has a separate lease with our landlord and occupy our own bedrooms. The first year all utilities were included. The second year, they decided to make us pay for utilities which was fine. However, they wanted one of us (at that time, there was 3 of us) to put the electric bill in our names. I was not willing to do that since I did not want to be responsible for collecting monies from other renters. They never gave us a bill for utilities and apparently it fell off their radar. Fast forward 8 months and of course Con Ed wants to get paid. Come to find out - they took the bill out of their names and it has not been paid since September. Turn off notices, marshal threats soon follow. Landlord is saying that one of us has to put the bill in our names and pay it. I say no. I rent a room in this duplex and am not obligated to enter into a contract with the other renter(s). The 3rd bedroom is empty and they are seeking to fill it (with no thought about compatibility or anything which confirms my feeling that this is not my apartment - I rent a room).

Is the onus on my landlord to put the bill in his name and pay it? I am more than willing to pay for whatever electricity I consumed I just don't want to put the bill in my name!

Can someone please give me some perspective?
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:18 AM
 
288 posts, read 532,959 times
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I have a similar issue with the landlords refusing to send us an actual electricity bill. They sent us am email with some figures in it and a threat that they would charge us a late fee in the event we wouldn't pay, but without a tangible bill we're not simply signing money over to them. Haven't paid utilities in 5 months, will see where it leads.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:41 AM
 
979 posts, read 4,212,735 times
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This may be unsolvable. Probably the building is C of Oed for 2 families which would prevent the LL from renting out single rooms ala SROs. You can check with the Dept. of Buildings data base. Both the building code and Con Ed have provisions that require the metering of electricity for the space you occupy no more, no less. In your case the LL should have provided 3 meters plus a meter for the common area. He can't get this because Con Ed won't approve extra meters for the same legal space.
If you want to stay the only solution would be to threaten to withhold rent and force him to pay. Exposing this situation to the City or Con Ed will bring down Hell.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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The only work around would be to get the LL to install submeters. Not legal but what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound!
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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@modsquad - what do you mean bring down hell?
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:55 AM
 
979 posts, read 4,212,735 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadab View Post
@modsquad - what do you mean bring down hell?
From what you've said I expect the owners would be cited for numerous violations. Enough so you could remain and not pay rent for months or even years until they correct them which in this case is likely impossible. It would be cheaper for them to pay you to leave and revert to the legal use.
But before you go and call the LL, you and your roommates should spend a couple of hundred bucks on a tenant's attorney. There's some free sites available also.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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Addendum: In cases like this it is understood that tenants are supposed to put their money into escrow however in reality if it goes on long enough the tenant simply withdraws the escrow and leaves.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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thanks everyone for your insights! anybody else out there have some advice?
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
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tjadab,

Your landlord is operating illegally. He cannot convert an apartment, legal or otherwise, into a rooming house. Absent any names on the Con-Ed bill the landlord, as the owner, is responsible for paying it.

Although it probably doesn't matter, do the separate leases you roomers signed say anything about electricity?

Quote:
The first year all utilities were included.
That establishes a precedent...make sure you keep evidence to that fact.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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@ KKing: the leases we signed in September '10 had a general rider that said utilities would no longer be included in the rent. But it did not outline what and how the utilities would be paid. They suggested at that time one of us put it our names; everyone refused to take on that responsibility even though we all agreed to pay for utilities from October on. What they did at that point was take the coned out of their names and left it at that. When it came up two weeks ago that ConEd was possibly going to send the marshal they "realized" that the bill was not being paid and went crazy saying that we HAD to put in our name and pay it. I have been trying to get a face to face with them to explain the logic and sense of it to them. They are also in the process of putting another "3rd" person in the empty bedroom. I told them that they really need to pay the bill then b/c it's going to be extremely difficult to get another tenant if there is no electricity - duh!
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