One of the duties for landlords is that they must provide tenants with a habitable place to live, which includes access to water, heat, and electricity. While they must provide the availability of these home essentials, they aren't obligated to pay. If the landlord doesn't assume responsibility, then it's up to the tenant to pay utilities. The lease should have the information about who pays.
Shared Meters/Shared Utilities
Sometimes, landlords make tenants share utility meters. This is legal, but they must inform you that this is happening. In shared meter situations, you and your landlord should come to an understanding about the percentage of each utility bill you will pay, and this needs to be in writing to benefit both parties. When you're charged, your bill should contain the meter reading at the beginning and at the end of the month, in addition to the current rates.
If you and your landlord are under the same roof, they will usually say something about sharing utilities. If the utilities are on the same bill, there should be indications about who is responsible. If not, or if the landlord isn't following the agreement, then they are in violation of the law.
The Name on the Account
When the landlord keeps the utilities in their name, they are the utility customer, not you. Generally, it's not an issue unless your landlord stops paying or goes into foreclosure. To avoid service interruption, tenants can apply for their own account. Here, you pay the bill while it's in your name, but the company can't make you pay any of your landlord's past due balance.
Is Your Landlord Using Your Utilities?
Talk to an Experienced Tenants' Rights Attorney about Utility Concerns
As both a renter and a utility consumer, you have certain rights. For instance, when your landlord bills you for utilities, they must charge the same amount as the utility company and can't make a profit. If your landlord violates this or is otherwise breaking the law, you will probably want to discuss this with an experienced tenants' rights attorney. Contact a Wolford Wayne lawyer for help with your landlord/tenant issues.
Recovered on behalf of a group of 30 tenants living in an SRO in San Francisco who were living with horrendous conditions in their rent controlled apartments, including rodents, bedbugs, mold, water leaks and harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three families living in a building in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood who were forced to live with substandard conditions for years as a result of their landlord’s negligence, including issues with lack of heat, lack of hot water and cockroach/rat infestations.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a couple living in a rent-controlled home in the outer Sunset neighborhood. Our clients were forced to vacate after the landlord served them with an Owner Move-In Eviction Notice. After the landlords failed to move into the property, our clients filed suit for wrongful eviction.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant in Russian Hill. Tenant was forced to vacate her illegal apartment in retaliation for reporting unlawful rent increases to the San Francisco Rent Board.Read More
Recovered for a single long-term tenant in San Francisco. Our client was forced to move out of his apartment as a result of extreme landlord harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three long-term tenants in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood who were constructively evicted due to noise and nuisance conditions created by their downstairs neighbors, which the owner refused to address.Read More
Recovered on behalf of elderly, disabled tenant who was forced to move out of her rent-controlled San Francisco apartment of 50 years after landlord/owner failed to resolve numerous building code violations that remained outstanding for over a decade.Read More
Recovered on behalf of seven tenants living in a makeshift boarding house in East Palo Alto.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two former San Francisco tenants who were evicted via an Owner Move-In Eviction and owner failed to occupy the unit as her primary place of residence.Read More
Recovered on behalf of an elderly long-term tenant who was forced to vacate her long San Francisco apartment as a result of her landlord’s refusal to address longstanding defective conditions, including lack of heat, mold, rodent infestations, and defective plumbing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant who was forced to vacate his home as a result of ongoing, disruptive construction and the owners’ refusal to provide him with alternative housing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco family that was constructively evicted from their home in the Richmond District as a result of unlawful rent increases, defective conditions and tenant harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a tenant living in an illegal “in-law” unit. In this case, a new owner purchased the building and then demolished our client’s unit without permits while she was displaced for seismic retrofitting.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two long term San Francisco tenants who were fraudulently evicted from their home of over twenty years under the pretext of an owner move-in eviction.Read More
Recovered for tenant who was injured when their stairway railing collapsed at the tenant’s Mission District apartment building.Read More
Recovered in action for a group of tenants forced to vacate their San Francisco apartment house due to severe habitability defects including mold and water leaks.Read More
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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.