How much over the standard local price per unit of electricity is a landlord allowed to charge?

I live in a year round campground that is privately owned on a month-to-month basis. The landlord “owns” his electric and we all have individual meters at each site. We have no option for a provider (it is the same for LP heat; he has one provider that he allows to deliver in his campground and then adds a delivery fee). He provides us with meter readings monthly then charges 3 times the current local price per kW. Is this legal? I have the same question regarding LP providers and charges.

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The landlord can charge whatever he proposed and you agreed to pay. If the lease had indicated that you would be charged according to or based on prevailing utility rates or the cost of LP in the market, then he couldn't charge you more than that; if it indicated, however, that you would be buying it from him and not on the open market, then as a general matter, you need to pay whatever he is charging.

The exception or limitiation would be if there was fraud or mistake in the making of the lease: if the landlord led you to believe that you would be paying more-or-less prevailing rates but then charged you treble that, that *could* provide grounds for terminating the lease and/or changing it to reflect prevailing energy costs.

The problem for you is that you rent month to month. That means that each month is in essence it's own

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