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Old 01-19-2010, 08:25 PM
 
3 posts, read 51,057 times
Reputation: 14

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I recently received my December electric bill for my 1BR/1BA apartment. I am very conservative with my power and my bills are usually under $75. However, for this past month my bill was almost $250. I contacted the power company and the apartment managers and also began tracking my meter to try to figure out what the problem was. My thoughts were that it had something to do with the heat pump but when they sent someone into the apartment to check things out they just checked to see if the apartment was sealed properly. They said they found a gap under the door and fixed it however it still didn't fix the problem. My daily kWh usage was still through the roof. About a week later they sent someone back in to finally check the heating unit and found the problem with the thermostat which was causing the heat pump to run incorrectly. My question is should I have to pay the entire electric bill when it was a problem with the apartment (which is brand new, I am the first tenant)? I did not realize there was a problem until I received the bill and it was not fixed until almost 2 weeks after I reported a problem therefore my January bill will be high as well. The apartment managers weren't too helpful and said there wasn't anything they could do. Has anyone else experienced a situation like this? or know of my rights?
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, NC
192 posts, read 572,615 times
Reputation: 216
i would call and complain to the complex. get a letter from the electric company having them state why your electric bill was thru the roof, and that it was the complexes responsibility to have a better insulated apartment....and youre the first tenant? wow. then there really is NO reason why there should be such poor insulation. my current apartment's insulation is pretty crappy, but its also an older building....even so, my electric has never been above 120/mth and thats if i really crank the heat or ac....which i do.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:03 PM
 
4,805 posts, read 21,319,746 times
Reputation: 4999
Quote:
My question is should I have to pay the entire electric bill when it was a problem with the apartment (which is brand new, I am the first tenant)?
Brand new is irrelevant. Most equipment faults are detected when they are new anyway.

The question you should be asking is, 'Is it worth it to try to fight for a refund?'

For starters, electric bills typically go up during winter months, oftentimes significantly. Now that the thermostat is fixed, you may still find that your monthly bill is double what it is in warmer months. If your bill 'should have' been $150 and you were charged $250, you are only owed $100.

If you live in a 'repair and deduct' state, it may be easy enough to simply deduct the amount from your next rent check, but if not, you are probably going to have to write letters, send them by certified mail, follow up with phone calls and keep logs of those phone calls. It may be months before you get a refund, if at all. And although it shouldn't affect your relationship with your LL, it will.

If it were me, I'd talk to the LL about getting a refund but I wouldn't fight it too much. A prolonged dispute just wouldn't be worth it. I'd put it in the 'loss' column of life and move on.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:18 PM
 
3 posts, read 51,057 times
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I have been tracking the meter when I first saw the large bill and since the problem has been fixed. The kWh usage went from ~100 per day to less than ~20 kWh per day now that is fixed so I am able to see how much my electric bill would actually be. If I only use 20 per day at 30 or less days times the rate shown on my bill then my bill is actually ~$60 per month. (small apt., no w/d yet and conservative) What I didn't mention is that my November bill was also a lot higher but not quite as shocking and since it was halfway through January before the problem was fixed it will be higher than normal for this month as well. When all is said and done over 3 months I will have paid an extra $350 on top of my usual usage. So although it is a pain to try to fight too hard for it I am trying to figure out if I have rights to try to fight for it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:07 AM
 
27,479 posts, read 56,516,150 times
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I would be reasonable...

In the past, I have credited a tenant for a portion of her above average water bill attributed to a broken pipe... the actual amount was about $17... I told her to deduct $25 from next months rents and she was happy.

A defective installation on the Heat Pump really shouldn't be your problem...

Since it is a new unit... I might take average of the next 3 months electric usage to calculate a baseline and credit you the amount above and beyond the average for the first month bill.

Starting off on the right foot is always a good idea...
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 25,721,233 times
Reputation: 9389
As the landlord, my office has always given at least a partial credit when things like this happen, usually its with water drips. We have also paid part of an electric bill when we had to run any equipment for more than a day at a rental (fans, space heater, etc).

So, should your landlord foot this bill? In my opinion, yes. However, whether or not they have a legal obligation to do so is not the same question. If you took him to small claims court, I think the judge would probably order them to pay at least some of the cost. Is it worth it, in terms of your time, money and future relations with the complex, to take it that far? Probably not.

Quote:
For starters, electric bills typically go up during winter months, oftentimes significantly.
I'm not familiar with heat pumps. Are they electric heating systems? Almost all furnaces in my area are gas based, so here, it is normal for gas bills to go way up in the winter, while power bills drop to almost nothing. My summertime power bill is over $100, while my winter bill is about $30. The gas bill is pretty much exactly opposite (except in the summer it is only about $10)

Overall, I would do a combination of what everyone else said.

1. You were unclear on who discovered the thermostat problem. If it was the power company, see if they will give you a letter stating their findings. If it was the LL or a maintenance person, they will know that already.

2. Find out if you are a "fix and deduct" state. If you are, deduct the amount overpaid, and send a letter with it stating how you came to your deduction amount. If you are not, send a certified letter stating how much you feel you should be credited and why.

3. If they still say no, decide whether you want to fight it or move on. I suggest moving on. You can bring it back up again when it comes time to get your deposit back, if necessary.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:51 PM
 
1 posts, read 22,766 times
Reputation: 10
I just found out that my water pump has been leaking for two years in a 1br 1bth studio apartment. My electric bills have stayed at 120.00 to 160.00 every month since I lived in this apartment. I'm not sure how to handle this situation since I have been out of a lot of money and I'm wondering how do I go about being refunded for the high bills? Any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:39 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 63,074,918 times
Reputation: 26596
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmmoore34 View Post
I just found out that my water pump has been leaking for two years in a 1br 1bth studio apartment. My electric bills have stayed at 120.00 to 160.00 every month since I lived in this apartment. I'm not sure how to handle this situation since I have been out of a lot of money and I'm wondering how do I go about being refunded for the high bills? Any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated.
Has the water pump been fixed and do you now have comparison bills which reflect that your electrical consumption was high because of the leaking water pump? You can certainly present your evidence to your LL and ask for some credit but if it went to Small Claims court I'm not so sure that you would have a case. I'd be surprised if a small water pump servicing just one studio could leak enough to not be very noticeable way before two years has passed and a small leak isn't likely to result in any grand escalation of the utility bill. Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 11,661,802 times
Reputation: 3579
I had a problem in a complex once where the AC was very old and failing. We had lived in that particular unit for quite some time, and our electric bills began to creep up. One day I looked at the bill, which lists historical KW usage for a year and realized that our usage had basically doubled since the same time last year, with no changes on our part. I had to be quite insistent that there was a problem, and that I should be compensated. We had made several previous service calls about this AC unit - instead of actually fixing or replacing it, the maintenance guys were just topping it off with freon which would only help for a few days.

Eventually the property manager agreed to a one-time rent concession to cover the extra we had paid over the year as shown by the bills, but it took a lot of polite persistence on my part. I produced the power company records of usage and the statement from the power company energy check guy that the problem was the AC which ran constantly because it could not effectively cool anymore. They also replaced the AC unit and the electric bills returned to the realm of sanity.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:27 PM
 
48,508 posts, read 88,593,200 times
Reputation: 18188
Check the lease. Other than that its between you and the landlord. If the account is in your name you are responsible to the electric company.
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