Posted by David Kuhlke on April 13, 1997 at 05:06:23:
I live in a condo I rent from the owner. I moved in last July (1996).
When I moved in, I called ConEd to transfer the power to my name. ConEd,
however, does not directly bill the tenants in this building. The property
management company hired some company to read the meters, and they submit
a bill to the owners for payment.
So I go on with my life. A couple of weeks later, I find an envelope slipped
under the door from the company that reads the meter. It was a statement
signifying a $45 or so charge for power consumption and meter-reading fee.
On the statement was a note saying that the amount of the bill will show up
on the owner's maintenance bill at the end of the year. I said, "Cool. No
power bill." And threw it out.
December rolls around and I get a call from the owner, who says that he
got a letter from the building's board saying that he is past due on his
power. I told him that I had gotten the statement under the door, but
since nothing was ever said about power in the lease or any of our
discussions (both with him and his agent). Not wanting to make trouble
(I am a sap that way), I agreed to pay the power, which had accumulated
to around $400 in the five months I had occupied the apartment.
Well now that I'm paying the bills, I notice the figures are VERY high
starting in November when it started getting cold. I've got electric
heat in the apartment. All of the bills from November to March are either
at or over $200 per month.
My question is this: There are laws requiring landlords to provide heat
and hot water to residents. Does this apply to my situation? I have
no problem in the world paying the $50 for the power I use for everything
else, but it's really starting to bug me. If I had known that I would
be paying another $200 (or more) to rent this place, I never would have
signed the lease.
I have a 2-year lease. It's a nice apartment in a good area, and it's
convenient to my work. That's why I don't want to "rock the boat" but
I'm getting very upset about this $200 power bill idea. I have another
winter to look forward to in this place as it is. I DO NOT want to
have this expense next year if there is anything at all I can do about it.
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