I rent a mobile home. The landlord owns a construction company that has its office right next door. There is also a small block building on their property that is being used as a gym. There is a light, TV, and window unit A/C. There is also possibly a treadmill and a small fridge.
Just recently, we learned that the gym is "on our meter." Our bills have fluctuated since we moved in 10 months ago. But 3 times, including right now, we have gotten an electric bill exceeding $350. We do everything we can to reduce our energy usage, and I mean everything.
I brought this up to our landlord today, but he seems to think it doesn't use that much extra. What should I do?
By Karaoke Mama from Thonotosassa, FL
I can think of a couple things to try.
If you shut down all the power usage in your home then everything else being used should be the other structure. For a complete test flipping all the breakers except for the circuit going to the other structure should do it. Then, look at your meter and see how fast it is spinning.
A tool like Kill-A-Watt might also help. I've seen these at Costco, Home Depot, and online. The unit plugs into the wall like a power strip. You plug something into it and it tells you how much power is being drained. You'd need to use it on the different exercise equipment and then add in the lights to get a total of how much power is being used.
First I would contact the power company and explain the situation and ask them for guidance. The second call would be the the Attorney General of your state and ask to be contacted to the party that handles utility problems. Also contact your town hall and ask them for help. The last resort would be to stop paying the electric bill. That will get someone's attention. Also look for an attorney that handles these type of complaints. (06/24/2010)
What does your lease say about electric? If it's not stated that you also have to pay for his office and/or gym electricity then definitely pitch a fit to the electric company! And I mean "pitch a fit"! Do you know that "stealing utilities" is a crime punishable by fine and/or jail? I know because my dorky brother, whom I love deeply, hooked himself up to a neighbor's meter and got caught and because he couldn't pay the over $2,000.00 fine he had to sit in the pokey for 30 days! Like you, he lives in Florida. I mention where he lives so that you know Florida prosecutes for this crime. (06/25/2010)
Call your electric company and ask for your own meter. Call your state level and ask for the Tenant/Landlord Rules. We have such a brochure in SC. What your landlord is doing is illegal. He is stealing your electricity which is dishonest and he could be taken to court and fined for such tactics. (06/25/2010)
First look at your lease. If it doesn't mention that you have to pay both bills, take him to small claims court. You will get every penny back. If you still want to rent from the creep, demand your own meter. I wouldn't stay there myself and even if you have a lease, this would be reason enough to break it. Don't do anything without consulting the electric company. (06/26/2010)
First, asking for your own meter when you are renting gives you the bill for it, an electric company will come out and change it at a high cost. Take this to the city council meeting after you have given notification to the city billing office. Tell them you want your billing for your actual house use, not the trailer park use. They then will have the responsibility to go after the landlord and kick A--. This is a creep. Go to social services and ask if they have anyone there to help you figure this out. If he is screwing you, he has done it to others. And it may have been government assisted money paid for it. Again, this will take it against him. Network to get the right legal people informed and on your side to help. You should not have to prove your use and payment of the bill. He has to do that. (06/28/2010)
By T&T Grandma
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