Landlord splitting utilities / sub metering

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Latest post 04-26-2006 3:32 PM by angelwings4me. 3 replies.
  • 04-26-2006 1:58 PM

    Question [=?] Landlord splitting utilities / sub metering

    Washington State / Snohomish County

    Renting a house in the country that has been split into 3 units, a basement apartment a studio and the main home. Landlord has been submetering the utilities and then sends an email / invoice to us.

    Moved in March 1, 1st bill was for 2 weeks really high so we turned off the heat, and chilled, watched all usage, 2nd bill / email invoice came was extremely ridiculous, with mine and the other unit it exceeded 500.00 *not counting the studio*

    I requested a copy of the bill / breakdown from the landlord over a week ago. I have yet to even get a response from them. The gentleman renting the lower unit called and requested the same he has gotten no response either.

    In our lease it states they will charge us 12% interest if not paid with the following rent payment in full *due May 1st*

    I contacted the utility company and although they were unable to provide me with a copy of the last bill they told me that the highest bill during the last 6 months was 550.00 (more than likely in the winter)

    We have a garage that houses the shared laundry facilities and has a seperate meter, obviously there is no way to split this fairly, but we suspect that we are paying the full electricity for the entire place.

    Upon inspection of the meters we noticed one main into my unit *not seperatley metered*, one seperate for WH (we assume is well house) unit 2 the basement and unit 3 the studio. And one on the shared "common" garage/ laundry.

    I do not have a hot water heater in the main house, it is located in the apartment below.

    How can this be fairly and legally done?

    And can they charge us for the garage electricity?

    I would qualify for energy assistance if the bill came directly to me, this is crazy!

    Tons of other issues with this house would love to get out of this lease *(1 year) HELP PLEASE!
  • 04-26-2006 2:49 PM In reply to

    re: Landlord splitting utilities / sub metering

    I'm not familiar with WA law on the issue of landlord-billed utilities; I don't know whether the interest charge would be considered legal.

    You also don't say when this house was split into 3 units or who lived there 6 months ago.

    Have you contacted the local housing authority for your county? If all else fails, you may have to talk with a local real estate attorney about landlord-tenant law.

    http://www.atg.wa.gov/consumer/lt/ffi.shtml

    You might also want to approach the landlord and ask about having the account transferred into your name.
  • 04-26-2006 3:32 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Landlord splitting utilities / sub metering

    It appears the house has been split for quite some time. *a decade maybe* I dont know who lived there before (a slob as I had to clean carpets and paint before I could even move in)

    I checked with the county the split into a tri plex is an illegal one, zoned single family residence only. And no final inspection for the "new addition" built in 89, a permit was issued but expired without "finals".

    which explains why the landlord claimed no responsibility for the neighbors fall from the outdoor stairs, (suffered a fractured skull) and said the "inspector should have caught the fact they were not built to code" Since these are off the "addition" in 89 (permit expired and no final inspection done) obviously were dealing with deceptive individuals here.

    I just wonder who would regulate sub metering. If it is done it should be so all of us get our own bill and they get the ones for the common areas. *I'm guessing.*
  • 04-26-2006 5:54 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,314

    re: Landlord splitting utilities / sub metering

    In many places sub metering is not legal and it may very questionable if your units are up to code even if sub metering is legal.

    If the units are not legal per local codes the LL may have a devil of a time to enforce the terms of the lease. Many places basement units are illegal, flat out and many places a 3 unit triggers all sorts of code issues.

    If you can sort out from utility as to total usage and compare notes with other tenant such that he bills for more than actual consumption if may be that LL is engaged in theft by deception.

    I think if you sort out allthe things this LL may be doing wrong yo may be able to ream him a new view of life.

    PS if you blow a lot of whistles and he retaliates by trying to evict you, you add one more to the list.

    I suspect this guy is way over the lines.

    I'll bet his tax returns don't look right either.

    Have fun!



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