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  1. #1
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    Utility Bill Issue

    What is the name of your state? Maryland

    When I first moved into my home about 3 years ago, I was told by the landlord that my water bill would be sent to his his house, and then after he reviewed it he was to send it on to me. It is also stated in the lease that he is do do this. Up until about a year ago, there had been no problems at all. About a year ago, however, I stopped receiving the water bill. I thought that perhaps the landlord had changed his policy without informing me and was paying it himself, and payed no further attention to the matter. However, yesterday I received a letter from the landlord stating that due to an "administrative error" my water bill had not been passed on to me as it should have been. After assuring me that it would not happen again, he demanded I pay the bill, which totals $177.88. That is equivalent to nearly a year's worth of water bill's plus late fee's. Attached to the letter was a shut-off notice from the City Of Baltimore, which provides our water.

    My question is, am I responsible for this bill since the landlord's negligence not only caused me not to receive the bill, but also caused the bill to become seriously delinquent? Also, since it specifically states in the lease that he is to pass the bill on to us when he receives it wouldn't this be a breach of the lease, since he failed to fulfill his stated responsibility?
    Last edited by Gary335; 06-08-2006 at 09:06 AM.
  2. #2
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    There is no logical reason that you couldnt have contacted your LL sooner about this, pay up . THEN tell your LL in writting you request they contact the water dept and have dual notice billing done so that way a copy of the bill is sent to you monthly as well as your LL.
  3. #3
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    It is not my responsibility to contact my landlord. I should not have to check up on him as if he were a child. It specifically states in the lease that he is to send me my water bill immediately upon receiving it. True, it wouldn't have hurt to have said sometihng, but I didn't breach the lease by not saying something, whereas he did by not sending the bill. Since he breached the lease, and since his "administrative error" caused the bill to become delinquent, he is responsible.

    It's funny, but I can tell you are or have been a landlord. Landlords never take responsibility. I would really appreciate hearing from somebody who isn't a landlord. I want an impartial opinion, and I'm sure no landlord is going to be completley impartial.
    Last edited by Gary335; 06-09-2006 at 08:03 AM.
  4. #4
    panzertanker is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary335
    It is not my responsibility to contact my landlord. I should not have to check up on him as if he were a child. It specifically states in the lease that he is to send me my water bill immediately upon receiving it. True, it wouldn't have hurt to have said sometihng, but I didn't breach the lease by not saying something, whereas he did by not sending the bill. Since he breached the lease, and since his "administrative error" caused the bill to become delinquent, he is responsible.

    It's funny, but I can tell you are or have been a landlord. Landlords never take responsibility. I would really appreciate hearing from somebody who isn't a landlord. I want an impartial opinion, and I'm sure no landlord is going to be completley impartial.
    I am a landlord, but I also see what you are trying to say...
    Let's try this approach:

    You go to the store and buy jeans on your Huge Bank of US credit card. The CC company is supposed to send you a bill monthly, however, through a clerical glitch they do not send you one.

    Does this negate your bill? No.
    Is it your responsibility to find out what you owe and pay it? Yes.
    Are you responsible for the amount owed, even if you were not sent a statement? Yes.
    Do you owe late charges for not paying on time, statement or no? Yes.

    Clearer?
    I have noticed that even intelligent people ask assinine questions every now and again.
    Disclaimer: I know a few lawyers. None of them is named panzertanker.
  5. #5
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Farmer J is right. Your are not getting out of the bill.

    Do what he said. Except you should NOT pay the late fees / delinquincy charges.

    Those are your landlords fault due to HIS administrative error.

    Pay the bill and write a CRR letter to your landlord asking if he wants to pay you a refund by check or have you deduct the fees from rent. If he agrees to deduction make sure you get it in writing and save all documents.
  6. #6
    BL
    BL is online now Senior Member
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    I stopped receiving the water bill. I thought that perhaps the landlord had changed his policy without informing me and was paying it himself, and payed no further attention to the matter.
    And buy you not paying attention to the matter , you now HAVE TO . BTW , I'm a renter .

    If all the sudden you didn't receive your car insurance bill , Etc . , what would you do ?
  7. #7
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    Maybe I'm not making myself clear enough. It's not my job to make sure that the landlord is doing HIS job. If he can't do his job, than he ought to give up landlording and find a job where he is supervised every minute of every day. If I have to do his job for him, why aren't I the landlord?

    Answer me this: What logical explanation could there be for this administrative error? What logical explanaiton could there be for an error so severe that the landlord failed to send me my bill OR contact me for nearly a year? There's no other explanation except complete irresponsibility on the landlord's part. Only total negligence allowed this problem to become as severe as it has.
  8. #8
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by panzertanker
    I am a landlord, but I also see what you are trying to say...
    Let's try this approach:

    You go to the store and buy jeans on your Huge Bank of US credit card. The CC company is supposed to send you a bill monthly, however, through a clerical glitch they do not send you one.

    Does this negate your bill? No.
    Is it your responsibility to find out what you owe and pay it? Yes.
    Are you responsible for the amount owed, even if you were not sent a statement? Yes.
    Do you owe late charges for not paying on time, statement or no? Yes.

    Clearer?
    Except there is more to it than that.

    Your are omitting the interceding role of the landlord (whom the actual water account is most likely with.)

    The landlord has a lease obligation to prompt billing upon reciept the water bills.

    I could think of many logical explanations why the tenant might not see a water bill for a substantial amount of time. Even a year, maybe Baltimore switched to annual billing... Bottom line is that forwarding the bill to the tenant is explicitly the landlords responsibility.

    Why should this tenant pay for the mistakes of his landlord? He shouldn't

    The landlord has no negligence? I doubt it.
  9. #9
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    That's my thinking exactly.

    For the record, the water bill is indeed in his name, which you would think would propel him to send me the bill that much faster so as to prevent delinquencies from showing up in his name. Also for the record, the billing method has never changed. It is and has always been on a quarterly basis. It is with this knowledge that I know without a doubt that whatever the reason is, it is nobody else's fault but his.
  10. #10
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    You still owe for the bill Gary.

    Just not the late fees.
  11. #11
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    Nope I don't owe anything. I've spoken with an attorney who has told me that it is not my responsibility, but that to be reasonable I should offer to pay at least part. Sounds fair to me. Fairer than the notiion that I should pay the entire bill.
  12. #12
    BL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary335
    That's a real intelligent statement.
    Really ?? now you have received a BILL with a COPY of a SHUT OFF NOTICE , correct ?

    Pay the dang BILL , keep the water , Demand the LL deduct late fees from your rent , or reimburse you . Oh don't tell me , you have no money ..... The bill is in your LL's name . Go away and sweat to death then .
  13. #13
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    Money is not an issue. Its a matter of common sense and common decency. No responsible landlord would demand that I pay a bill that his stupidity made delinquent. Landlords are the shadiest people on earth. Administrative error? Possibly, but I think there's more to the story. If it wasn't his responsibility to present me with the bill every quarter, than I would take full responsibility. But the lease holds him responsible for sending me the bill, and his failure to do so is no fault of mine.

    Also, whether you realize it or not, if my water gets shut off because of this, I will have the landlord in small claims court to pay for the water to be turned back on. You can bet your bottom dollar on that.
  14. #14
    Gary335 is offline Member
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    I do care about my family, but I don't think that that has anything to do with the topic at hand.
  15. #15
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary335
    Nope I don't owe anything. I've spoken with an attorney who has told me that it is not my responsibility, but that to be reasonable I should offer to pay at least part. Sounds fair to me. Fairer than the notiion that I should pay the entire bill.
    My BS meter is off the scale.

    If you consulted with an attorney, good for you.

    I don't buy it.

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