Who pays for common area utilities?

By Tenant

When renting an apartment or a house it is often written on the lease that the basic utilities like heat, water and gas is not for free and the utility bill should be paid for by the tenant himself.  But if you are renting in an apartment building you often find that even the utilities used in the common area like the basement or the hallway is being hooked up to your own utility meter thus making you pay for the utility bill all by yourself.

It is illegal for your landlord to hook up someone else’s utilities to your own utility meter. If you think that your landlord is hooking up someone’s utilities to your meter; here are the things you must do:

  • Inform your landlord.  Before doing any drastic moves you have to talk to your landlord first and inform him that you would want to have a different or separate meter for your utilities. If your landlord refuses then try asking him for a rent reduction in order for you to pay the extra utility bill that he is asking. By doing so you both can benefit on the situation.
  • Document everything. Always make sure that whatever agreement you and your landlord can come up to during your talk put it into writing and document everything.  This way you can have proof if ever your landlord will come up with an argument regarding your rent or your utility bill.
  • Ask for a refund. You can ask your landlord for a refund for the extra utility bills you paid for, if you have been paying it for quite some time now.  If you are not sure how much you had paid for in total you can call your utility company and ask if they can help you.
  • File a complaint. If everything will not work out, then you always have the option to file a complaint against your lawyer through a mediation company like the RPA.

Edited on: Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 1:09 am

15 Responses to “Who pays for common area utilities?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


March 13th, 2013 1:20 am

Can I sue my landlord for illegal taping?


March 13th, 2013 12:40 pm

What if my utility bill is addressed to my landlord?


March 14th, 2013 12:00 am

Is there a way I can know if the utilities in common areas are being hooked up in my meter?


March 14th, 2013 11:20 am

Can I file a complaint in small towns’ court for my refund?


March 14th, 2013 10:40 pm

Is there a breach of contract made if this happens?


March 15th, 2013 10:00 am

Shady and crooked landlords should rot in prison.


March 15th, 2013 9:20 pm

It is very unfair for the tenant to be paying for the utilities which is being used by all in the common areas.


March 16th, 2013 8:40 am

What is the proper plan of action if this thing happens?


March 16th, 2013 8:00 pm

What does the state law say about utilities in common areas?


March 17th, 2013 7:20 am

Thanks for this post! Now I know what to do.


March 17th, 2013 6:40 pm

Will the separate meter be under my name or will be still under my landlord’s?


March 18th, 2013 6:00 am

It sucks having to pay utilities which are not being used by me.


March 18th, 2013 5:20 pm

Can I just move out and ask for a refund?


March 19th, 2013 4:40 am

Can I make alterations to my lease for this even though I already signed my lease agreement months before?


March 19th, 2013 4:00 pm

How can I file a complaint and under what grounds?


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