Is a utility billing dispute a defense to eviction?

I currently rent from a private owner (duplex) and live up stairs. I have been complaing about my high electric bill and was informed everything was seperate. I hired 2 licensed contractors who advised everything was connected to my unit. My land lord stated he will discount my rent $6.50 for each month I’ve paid for the whole house. I was not an agreement with that, as some months my bill would be $200+ the average being around $80-$90. My landlord stated to take the $6.50 credit or I would be evicited for nonpayment. I do not wish to take the credit, sowhat could I do to prevent eviction?

Asked on June 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of most states and local municipalities in this country, the meters for a residential rental must be separate and distinct from other units if the tenant is being charged by the landlord for utilities on a monthly basis.

You seem to have a legitimate defense for not paying your assessed utility bill if you are paying the full freight for all other tenants' with respect to the landlord's eviction action against you.

I suggest that you consult further with a landlord tenant attorney and/or your local tenant housing clinic about the dispute you are in with your landlord and how to go about solidfying your defense to the eviction action.

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