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  1. #1
    geefay is offline Junior Member
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    Tenant wants me to help pay her utility bill

    What is the name of your state? California
    This past summer my tenant thought there must be a problem with the airconditioning system
    She was running the unit all day and night and it wasn't cooling down the house.
    She called me and I immediately sent a repairman to look at the airconditioner.
    He found some problems with it and cleaned it out. He told the tenant that because the unit was not working properly . "you probably got a big energy bill last month didn't you?" he said.
    "yes, I did" the tenant replied. "We'll that's the reason why your bill was so high" said the repairman

    Now the tenant wants me to split the utility costs with her.

    In our rental agreement there is a clause that reads:
    "Appliances - Although there may be appliances in the dwelling, such as a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, or garbage compactor, the use of these appliances is not included in the rent. If Tenants wish to use these appliances, they agree to assume all responsibility for care and maintenance. If Tenants wish to use their own appliances, they agree to assume all responsibility for care and maintenance."

    So am I correct to include the Central Heat and cooling system included in "Appliances"?
    Last edited by geefay; 10-17-2006 at 08:57 PM.
  2. #2
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by geefay View Post
    What is the name of your state? California
    This past summer my tenant thought there must be a problem with the airconditioning system
    She was running the unit all day and night and it wasn't cooling down the house.
    She called me and I immediately sent a repairman to look at the airconditioner.
    He found some problems with it and cleaned it out. He told the tenant that because the unit was not working properly . "you probably got a big energy bill last month didn't you?" he said.
    "yes, I did" the tenant replied. "We'll that's the reason why your bill was so high" said the repairman

    Now the tenant wants me to split the utility costs with her.

    My question is: Is the landlord responsible for any loss suffered by a tenant for problems related to the house.

    If bad wiring causes the electricity go out and she loses a freezer full of food
    If a water leak ruins the tenants furniture.
    If the garage door opener comes loose and damages her car.
    If she loses a day of work because the door won't lock
    If the burglar alarm fails to operate properly and a burglar steals her belongings.

    What are the landlords obligations and responsibilities beyond seeing that any repairs are made in a timely fashionWhat is the name of your state?
    Your in the Business of Land-lording , and you don't know the Laws ?

    I'd suggest retaining an Attorney , if you haven't or won't be knowledgeable on the Laws . Some areas as in mine Offer Landlords classes .
  3. #3
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    any of the above items you wrote about the only way you can be held accountable by a court is when you refuse to repair a mechanical or structural component of the rental unit , THe tenant would have to have proof of repair request and proof that the repair was being ignored. Many tenants often do not have a clue as to any early warning signs of something needing work or the just dont care enough to look, The best way to be aware of how well something like a garage door is working is to periodically inspect its operation looking for things like loose track, loose rollers, loose hinges etc. as far as things like security alarm, door locks etc again if the tenant hasnt notified you that something was sloppy or begining to fail how are you to know? your tenant needs to carry renters insurance so that way the things they own are covered, if there is a incident that the ins can indeed prove to be your neglect the ins co will sue you. If you take reasonable steps to inspect and repair ASAP then there should be nothing to worry about.
  4. #4
    achavez is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by geefay View Post
    What is the name of your state? California
    This past summer my tenant thought there must be a problem with the airconditioning system
    She was running the unit all day and night and it wasn't cooling down the house.
    She called me and I immediately sent a repairman to look at the airconditioner.
    He found some problems with it and cleaned it out. He told the tenant that because the unit was not working properly . "you probably got a big energy bill last month didn't you?" he said.
    "yes, I did" the tenant replied. "We'll that's the reason why your bill was so high" said the repairman

    Now the tenant wants me to split the utility costs with her.

    In our rental agreement there is a clause that reads:
    "Appliances - Although there may be appliances in the dwelling, such as a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, or garbage compactor, the use of these appliances is not included in the rent. If Tenants wish to use these appliances, they agree to assume all responsibility for care and maintenance. If Tenants wish to use their own appliances, they agree to assume all responsibility for care and maintenance."
    So am I correct to include the Central Heat and cooling system included in "Appliances"?

    I don't know the laws in CA but here in IN it is the responsibilty of the landlord to pay for all heating and cooling repairs and maintance to the upkeep of his property. An air conditioner in a window is an appliance but not central air. If you furnish a stove, refrigerator, or any other appliance then it would be up to you to repair them not the tenent or at least that's the way things work in IN. Although some landlords would just take the broken unit out and say get your own. If a water pipe breaks that is attached to the water heater who is responsible for the cost of repairs and damage? That is the way I would look at it. At least she is asking you to split the cost with her and not demanding that you pay it all. You could also ask her what the cost of her normal bill is and then split the extra with her. I know that would have satisfied me if I had the same problem.
  5. #5
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by achavez View Post
    I don't know the laws in CA but here in IN it is the responsibilty of the landlord to pay for all heating and cooling repairs and maintance to the upkeep of his property. An air conditioner in a window is an appliance but not central air. If you furnish a stove, refrigerator, or any other appliance then it would be up to you to repair them not the tenent or at least that's the way things work in IN. Although some landlords would just take the broken unit out and say get your own. If a water pipe breaks that is attached to the water heater who is responsible for the cost of repairs and damage? That is the way I would look at it. At least she is asking you to split the cost with her and not demanding that you pay it all. You could also ask her what the cost of her normal bill is and then split the extra with her. I know that would have satisfied me if I had the same problem.
    Who cares what the laws are in IN? The post is for CA law...

    OP needs to verify his maintenance clause in his lease does not violate state LL/T laws. Either way, the tenant is repsonsible forthe full amount of the bill. Until the LL is notified properly, they cannot eb held liable for faulty equipment they did not know about, although it would be smart for every LL to periodically send a maintenance man to check all equipment.
  6. #6
    porcelina68 is offline Member
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    Isn't it up to the Landlord to make sure that the dwelling is habitable? Seems to me that the Central Air and Heating would fall into that category. The landlord should be responsible for upkeep and maintenance on the air conditioning and heating units. So, with that said, the landlord would be responsible for having the systems checked out and cleaned prior to the start of the cooling or heating season, each year. I mean, the landlord is responsible for the repairs, right?

    I would consider myself lucky that the tenant isn't demanding the full amount of the bill for that month. I would pay it before the tenant decides to deduct it from the rent.
  7. #7
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by porcelina68 View Post
    Isn't it up to the Landlord to make sure that the dwelling is habitable?
    The A/C not working is a weak argument for making the unit un-habitable. There would need to be more wrong with the entier unit to make it un-unhabitable. If you lived in a state that required A/C(as in AZ) as a LL requirement, than yes, it would become un-habitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by porcelina68 View Post
    The landlord should be responsible for upkeep and maintenance on the air conditioning and heating units. So, with that said, the landlord would be responsible for having the systems checked out and cleaned prior to the start of the cooling or heating season, each year. I mean, the landlord is responsible for the repairs, right?
    Yes, they are required to keep the unit maintained, BUT they are not responsible for a tenant who does NOT call them requesting a repair. If the tenant ran the unit all day and all night for multiple days WITHOUT informing the LL that something was wrong, how is the LL to know that something was indeed wrong? The minute the tenant noticed something was wrong with the unit, they should have contacted the LL immediately to request maintenance. In this case, the OP stated that once he was notified of the problem, he sent a repairman. Unfortunately it was after a huge bill had been racked up by the tenant. State LL/T laws do not require a LL to send maintenance personnel, but only that they maintain maintenance of equipment. If that happens to be every year, or six months, so be it, it is at the LL's discretion. A LL cannot fix said equipment if they had no knowledge of it, plus equipment can and does fail days or hours after they have just been looked at by proper maintenance personnel.

    Quote Originally Posted by porcelina68 View Post
    I would consider myself lucky that the tenant isn't demanding the full amount of the bill for that month. I would pay it before the tenant decides to deduct it from the rent.
    And that is why you would make a lousy LL. A tenant CANNOT withhold rent money en lieu of maintenance repair UNLESS they properly followed the LL/T laws of their state. On top of that some states have no "repair & deduct" clause, thus making it illegal for a tenant to do.
  8. #8
    danno6925 is offline Member
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    I'd say, "So sue me for it"

    I would consider myself lucky that the tenant isn't demanding the full amount of the bill for that month. I would pay it before the tenant decides to deduct it from the rent.
    I'm gonna guess you're a renter. Can you tell me if CA LL/T laws require a cooling system? I know AZ and NM do, but CA is hardly considered predominantly desert state, so I'm gonna wager it isn't on the books as a requirement for habitability. It's up to the LL to provide a habitable residence, but it's the responsibility of the tenant to pay any and all utility bills. Sure, the tenant could sue the LL, but she'd probably crash and burn in a courtroom.

    And as for pro-rating her own rent, that's just stupid. LL could just evict for non-payment of rent! No musss no fuss.
  9. #9
    fairisfair is offline Senior Member
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    what a crock. You fixed the problem, doesn't sound like she even waited that long. Personally, I am a renter, on the other side of the situation, IN AZ where a/c is mandatory, mine went out this summer, it was 108 that week, my landlord busted his butt to get it fixed but it still took 3 trips for the repairman before it was working right. $h*t happens, I wouldn't think of asking him to pay my utility bill, after all, if it was that danged hot in there, why didn't she leave and turn it off?? He did offer a credit on the rent, which I refused, you know, when someone acts in good faith, fairisfair.

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