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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 

Hey guys I am renting for the first time and now I am having some problems with my Land Lord, was hoping you could give your opinions to if this is reasonable from her or not. This is in California also I changed the names.

I began renting this place on December 17th 2012, the rent is $1300 with all utilities included, it is a monthly lease. It is a large house divided into three sections by closing off hallways, so I live in one section with my GF, the land lord in the other and some other tenants in the other.

Everything was going fine until Feb 12th 2013 rolled along, I received a text message from my land lord saying that we have been using way too much electricity, she said the bill for Dec 10 - Jan 10 was $670 and for Jan 11 - Feb 10 $400 so she said I would have to start paying 1/3 of the electric bill from now on (no separate meters) and that she would send me the next electric bill. I agreed even though no 30 day notice was given. I work from home and the other people are rarely there so it probably was my fault by using the space heater too much.

2 weeks later she sends us the bill for Jan 11 - Feb 10 instead of Feb 11 - March 10 and I ask her why in the text she said she would send the next bill but now she is sending the previous one? I felt this was unfair. After a lot of back and forth e-mails I told her I would pay for the previous bill if that meant she wouldn't ask us to leave and then she got angry and wrote this as her reply.

"Yes I completely understand, this is not my favorite use of time either Tom.

That is fine Tom, you don't have to pay 134 dollars toward a nearly 1200 dollar electric bill I have paid since you guys have been there, and with you being the only ones there full time time during that time.. I was hoping you might just consider that is probably a fair and/or right thing to do based on the circumstances and evidence. I don't want to try and guilt, or beg. I will continue to monitor the electric, and let you know if I can afford for you guys to live there.

So there ya go..

Like you, this is depressing for me as well... :/ I am sure we will figure this out. Thanks for your time. Take care.. Mal"

Well The first bill was $670 and the next one was $400 that is $1070 total not $1200 not sure where she got that number from.

What do you guys think? What am I supposed to do, am I being unreasonable?


Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #2 
First, you shouldn't waive your right to a thirty day notice, since that forces the landlord to send you next month's bill rather than the previous one. Waiving your right means you give it up and even though you didn't explicitly say anything like that, saying you intend to pay for the Feb 11 - March 10 bill left you open to paying all the prior bills as a modification of the lease

Second, $1200 as opposed to $1070, (1) she might just be exaggerating, or (2) she might be adding a bill she hasn't given you. More likely (1).

I am assuming you are taking on 1/3 of the electrical bills, or about $400, in addition to the $1300 rent. The problem I see is that the $1300 rent is suppose to include the utilities, including electricity. The landlord is claiming that you are using electricity in excess of the portion of electricity that the $1300 was covering.

I recommend asking how much of the $1300 rent was suppose to be devoted to electricity, then subtracting that amount from the additional electrical bill the landlord wants you to pay. Obviously the landlord will low ball the amount of electricity that the rent was suppose to cover, so you might want to ask how much the landlord expected you to use when you first moved in. 

I am not a lawyer. Please see an attorney for legal advice.

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