Can a management company charge you for almost 1 1/2 years of utilities bills if they failed to send them until now?

On the lease it states that we are responsible for utilities and if our unit isn’t separately metered, which it’s not, that we would have to pay a portion that the landlord deems suitable. My roommate and I have lived in this place for almost 1.5 years and have never received a bill from the management company for gas/power. All of a sudden, they have realized their error and are now asking us for thousands of dollars in payment. Can they do this? Is this Legal? If so, We don’t have that kind of money, for we haven’t had to budget for it. What do I do?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In order to answer your question, you need to carefully read your written lease agreement in that its terms and conditions control the obligation owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the landlord's management company after a year and a half now sends you an invoice for utility charges in the thousands of dollars, the managment complex has a big problem on its hands. It is entirely unrealistic for you to pay a utility invoice well beyond amounts that you have been paying diligently over the past year and a half.

I would write the managment complex a letter advising it of your position keeping a copy of it for future reference.

Good luck.

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.