What to do about additional charges on my rent invoice?

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What to do about additional charges on my rent invoice?

When signing my lease agreement, the landlord informed my I was responsible for electric, cable and phone services. After receiving my monthly rent invoice there where additional charges. “Space heating” and “domestic hot water” charges. I questioned my landlord. She said the “space heating” charges is a fee for turning on the heat (shouldn’t that charge be included on my electricbill?) and “domestic hot water” is for gas usage. I was told water was included in my rent and the landlord never said anything about Gas charges. Is she taking advantage of me?

Asked on September 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, yes she is.  You need to take your lease to a tenant's rights organization to read on your behalf.  If all is as you say that it is then you can refuse to pay these charges.  Even if the landlord tries to say that it is "added rent" - something under a commercial lease generally - it should still be stated in the lease.  A lease is a contract and yo are only responsible for what you agree to under the contract.  If the landlord does anything regarding the other services that effects your ability to habit the place like a human being - like not turning on the heat - then take her to court and ask for a rent abatement for the time that the warranty of habitability was breached.  Good luck.


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