Who should pay for the utility charges on common areas?

By Tenant

When you’re living in an apartment, you often wonder who pays for the utility charges on common areas. Sometimes, you might doubt if your utility bill includes the common areas of the apartment complex especially if the charges just spike up for no reason.  Undeniably, there are really some landlords who would do everything that they can to cut the costs of running a business.  Sometimes, that would include having you paid for the utility charges in common areas.  That do know that this is the legal –regardless of the state you are in.

So if you have proof that the hall lights or heating in the common areas are hooked to your meters, and the following would be the steps to take:

  1. Politely talk to your landlord.  Communication is essential if you want to establish a good tenant –landlord relationship.  So before you do anything, politely ask your landlord to put a separate meter for you and the utilities in the common areas.  If a separate mean there is not possible, ask for a reduction in rent.  This way, I’ll just be paying what you owe and the landlord will just reduce your rent to accommodate the bills in the common areas.
  2. If the landlord has agreed to a reduction of rent, have that agreement in writing.  Also include details like the amount of rent that you will be paying when the new rent amount will take into effect.
  3. If the negotiation take some time and you determine that you have been paying for the utility costs in the common areas for months now, ask the landlord to refund you.
  4. If the landlord refuses to pay, you can file a complaint against him.  The RPA has the option for you to file a complaint against your landlord via their complaint center.  If
  5. If the mediation fails, then your last option would be to sue your landlord.  This is going to be the most expensive option but if you win, you can get back the total amount that you used to pay for the utility costs in the common areas of the apartment complex.

Remember that the property is the landlord’s responsibility.  The you will only be responsible for the utility costs inside your unit and anything that would run outside you should be paid by your landlord.

Edited on: Thursday, February 14th, 2013 1:16 am

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