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What would you do?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
As we live in a duplex and so the electricity is shared with the tenant next door and my landlord gets the bill - and she splits it in half.
Lately, for the last few months her son and his girlfriend and their baby have been living with her - as well as her daughter - all in a 2 bedroom apartment.
We got the electricity bill today - $202.78!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Divided in half, we pay $101.39. There is NO WAY we used that much electricity - we use the gas heater and only use the electric heater at nights if it is cold and lately it hasnt been cold enough to use as we have an extra blanket on the bed.
There is nothing in the lease that says that we must divide the bill in half.
They use their washer and dryer every day (we can smell it), they always have someone home so something is being used or the other.

What should we do? Say something or just pay half? I feel that it is really unfair that we have to pay so much when it is just two of us and 4 to 5 of them. I figured out the bill to per person and we could be paying like $30 each instead of $50.

What would you do? Any advice is so much appreciated! Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Talk to your landlord and explain that you don't feel that its fair for you to pay half, when there are more people living in the other half of the duplex.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thats what we are thinking of doing...lets hope she will have an open mind because she doesnt normally have an open mind.
post #4 of 14
Cindy is right. We have tenants in a quadruplex, and separate meters for each apartment for water, gas, and electricity. Heating costs are divvied up according to actual use - there are tamper-proof gauges on every radiator in the house, and we have a company that comes in and reads them after each heating period, and figures out the bills. Your landlady is just doing what is most convenient for her. I'd insist on separate meters, even if you're only going to be living there for a few more months.
post #5 of 14
I would defenately tell you landlord what you just told us, and that you are uncomfortable with paying half of what is clearly not 50/50 useage.
If that is at no cost for you, I would also definetely request a seperate meter, that way this kind of situation would not come up.
Good luck!
post #6 of 14
I would insist on separate meters also. I don't think the current arrangement is fair to you and Jake.
post #7 of 14
Certainly bring it up with the landlord. If you can get separate meters that would be the best solution, but there should be SOME kind of accommodation possible. It is distinctly NOT fair that you should pay half in this situation.
post #8 of 14
I feel for you. Years ago before I was married I was in a similiar situation. My roommate and I rented a duplex with a bunch of guys in the other side of the duplex. There was only one electric meter and we were expected to "split" the bill. The guys in the other duplex were home all the time, used twice the air conditioning, lights etc.. that we did. Yet each month the bill was split down the middle. What a joke.
We did complain to the landlord, but were told that this is what we agreed to when we moved in, so too bad. We were only about 19 or 20 years old at the time so we didn't have the smarts or the nerve to do anything. Luckily we were out of there in three months.
Good luck, I hope you are sucessful in fighting it!
post #9 of 14
Yuck!! I lived in a triplex once and we each had our own seperate bills. I've never heard of having to split bills with next door neighbors
post #10 of 14
Technically there should be separate meters. I don't know what the laws are in your state, but in some states it is a requirement. I did live in an apartment building in CO, though, with 30 apartments and they had 1 electric meter that was divided 30 ways.
post #11 of 14
I've been in the situation where there was one meter for two units, and the landlord split the bill between me and the other tenant. I was never convinced that the split was 100% fair, but it wasn't so outrageous that I was prepared to tackle David, who was a bit of a jacka$$ at the best of times. However, it kept me on a financial rollercoaster for the two years I lived there, because the billings were bi-monthly and seemed to fluctuate a fair bit. The thing that it taught me was NEVER, but NEVER again, to accept a rental agreement in which I was responsible for utilities. But you don't learn that until you've been in that horrible position. I hope you find a solution without too much fuss.
post #12 of 14
Ask the city about installation of a separate meter for each residence. Their may be code requiring the landlord to have it done. That's one idea I would definitely explore. You are definitely being taken advantage of.

post #13 of 14
Hi there - now this is simplicity to me as I work in the gas and electricty industry.

The overall answer depends on expenditure and the landlord may impose the charges on you.

in a perfect world - the answer would be that you will have a single supply coming into the property. From this single supply it will goto a meter and from the meter direct to the fuse board. This fuse board then has wires going to each of the two properties. It makes little difference who uses what as the source is the same - dircet from the one meter.

In order to have a seperate meter fitted - the options would be :

Have a new supply coming from the road and this then could goto a meter inside your establishment.

Have a seperate sub meter fitted that records the usage for your part of the building only.

From there on, by having a new supply fitted or a sub meter will mean that you need a new fuse board. So the mains wires from the new meter will have to go to that. Then all the wires from the old mcb (fuse board) will have to go to the new mcb and direct into your property.

Here in the UK, you would need the usage of the host public Electricty Supplier to fit a new link and tails from the old meter to the sub. Then the services of a sparky to do the wiring to the flat / appt to yours and both of these would be chargeable.

As I am in the industry of gas and elec - and given that either you or the l.l will not spend the money involved to do this - I would suggest the following if you were one of my customers that called me tomorrow.

If at all possible, first thing in the morning before you leave for work, take a note of the meter reading. Then turn off whatever you can - everything bar a fridge / freezer and pull the plugs out. Therefore, your usage is absolutely nominal.
Then when you get in tomorrow night - first port of call - read the meter again. Then repeat the operation for the evening of reading the meter as what ever is being used on a night will not be that high I imagine. (there are ways of checking usage though. Then devide the night read by two and multiply by the unit price. All elec is measured in kiloWatt hours so if 20 units were used at 1pence or cent per kWh- then it would be 20 cents/ pence. 10 each.

By looking at the day usage - you have a better idea of what your neighbours are using and therefore, you can get the bill rightly aportioned.

If the l/l diasgrees with this, you may be liabl whether you like it or not under what theycall joint and several liability.

There are other ways and means and trust me here - I know what am talking about. I installed another alarm / security system yesterday and that involved 192 cables - its all wired and working perfect. I know electrics and am not scared of them. Fear not - will find a way of solving this problem

Sorry its so long here in my reply. If stuck - then contact me please.

post #14 of 14
Obviously, the laws differ from country to country and state(province/land) to state. Kev, what you're saying makes perfect sense. I (hopefully) assume that in most places the homeowner, not the tenant, would have to ask for, and be liable to pay for, the installation of new meters/submeters. The costs and mess sound frightful, but even if Kellye and Jake had to pay for installation costs (they'd have to check into that), their savings on the electric bill might well justify it. The current situation is obviously untenable.
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