What are my rights if electricity is included in my rent and apparently my landlord didn’t pay this month’s bill so my electric is off?

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What are my rights if electricity is included in my rent and apparently my landlord didn’t pay this month’s bill so my electric is off?

Asked on August 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

Mark Siegel / Law Office of Mark A. Siegel

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under NY law, if you are a tenant in a 2 family house or a multiple dwelling, you have a right pay electric charges & avoid termination of service, as specifically provided under Secs. 33 & 34 of the NY Public Service Law.

NY Real Property Law § 235(a) provides the following rights to tenants concerning utility charges & services:

"§ 235-a. Tenant right to offset payments and entitlement to damages in certain cases. 

1. In any case in which a tenant shall lawfully make a payment to a utility company pursuant to the provisions of sections thirty-three, thirty-four and one hundred sixteen of the public service law, such payment shall be deductible from any future payment of rent.
2. Any owner (as defined in the multiple dwelling law or  multiple residence law) of a multiple dwelling responsible for the payment of charges for gas, electric, steam or water service who causes the discontinuance of that service by failure or refusal to pay the charges for past service shall be liable for compensatory and punitive damages to any tenant whose utility service is so discontinued..."

You may wish to consult with an attorney regarding your rights as a tenant under the above laws. Good luck! 
   


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