What to do if my landlord has been over charging me utilities for the past 7 1/2 years?

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What to do if my landlord has been over charging me utilities for the past 7 1/2 years?

I can’t afford a lawyer and I don’t qualify for legal aid. What is the law?

Asked on December 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The landlord may only charge you that portion of the utilities that you agreed to pay (e.g. in the lease), with the amount calculated accurately and honestly. If the landlord charged more than you would be responsible for, you can sue to recover the money. You could sue in small claims court, acting as your own attorney to save on legal fees. You would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence ("more likely than not") how much you were supposed to pay and how much you were in fact charged. You can use your testimony, utility bills, cancelled checks or money orders, the lease, etc. to prove your case.


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