What is a tenant’s recourse if they are being overcharges in their utilities?

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What is a tenant’s recourse if they are being overcharges in their utilities?

The house I am renting is split into 2 units – upstairs and basement. We pay the utilities companies directly for gas/electric/water/etc. The units are billed separately by the gas/electric companies but the upstairs bill is much more (upstairs bill $56; downstairs $8 for gas). Property management came and verified that the gas and electricity meters were “wired” wrong and upstairs was paying for most of the downstairs gas and electricity. However, it took no further action. Can I sue for recovery of the excess? How do I determine just what the excess is? And is the LL or gas/electric company responsible?

Asked on October 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The best way to resolve the problem for the perceived over charges you are getting for utilities is to contact the local building and permit department in the community where you live and have it inspect the gas and electricity meters to see if they are properly installed and up to code.

If they are not, then the landlord who owns the complex where you live will be cited and ordered to repair or upgrade the meters to conform to code compliance.

Assuming the landlord needs to make the upgrades as to the utility meters, then you will be in a much better position to seek reimbursement from him or her over the excessive charges for the utilties that you are writing about including a small claims matter for reimbursement if the money will not be voluntarily returned.


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