July 3, 2024 at 1:32 am

Tenants Hadn’t Gotten An Electric Bill In Seven Months, But When The Utility Company Said Their Account Didn’t Exist… They Just Let The Lazy Landlord Keep Paying Their Bill

by Michael Levanduski

Source: Public Domain Pics

When entering into a rental agreement it is important to make sure that you understand exactly what you are getting.

In some cases, you will be responsible for paying utility bills like electric and gas. In others, the landlord will cover those expenses.

If there is a miscommunication, it could result in your power getting shut off.

In this story, OP got lucky in that she was supposed to pay for her electricity but the landlord didn’t set up the account properly with the utility company.

While they did exactly what the landlord requested, they still didn’t end up having to pay this bill.

Read on to see how it happened.

To pay the electric bill, your address has to exist

Seven months into my apartment lease, I received a letter from the gas company stating that I needed to set up an account and start paying, else my service would be “interrupted.”

I was very confused—my roommates and I, five people in total—all signed the lease believing all utilities were included.

You really need to make sure that every rental contract you sign is 100% clear.

Our lease stated how we could pay utilities “where applicable” and based on our conversation with the landlord prior to renting, all five of us left the apartment tour interpreting the lease as including utilities.

I truly don’t know whose error that was, but the fact that all five of us believed the same thing makes me think someone on the building side was mistaken (the unit was managed by one firm, owned by another, and I never knew who worked for the landlord and who for the management firm).

I sent an email to the landlord asking about this gas notice, and she tells me that utilities were never included and that I must set up gas and also electric accounts.

These renters got really lucky that they didn’t need to pay the back charges. Surely someone had paid them.

I set up a gas account, and to my surprise, we’ve been charged no back bills at all.

Seven months of free gas.

One of my roommates goes to do the same with electric, but to our surprise, our apartment unit number is not listed on the website.

Our building has six units—101, 102, 201, 202 and so on. But for the third floor, only one drop-down option exists: 3. There is no Unit 3.

That was nice of the person at the electric company to tell them that it wasn’t their problem.

We call the electric company, who tells us that it’s ultimately not our problem.

If the landlord didn’t include our unit number in their paperwork to receive building service, we aren’t responsible for her mistake.

The phone rep from the electric company, perhaps in a risky act of broke college student solidarity, advises us to not contact our landlord since we’re not legally required to inform her of her mistake in setting up electric service.

She is probably paying both electric bills for 301 and 302, thinking it’s the hall lights and laundry machines.

Not our fault, we just did what we were told.

That is too funny. The landlord obviously has no idea that they are paying the electric bill for these five tenants.

I just hope that it is actually the landlord paying it and the bill is not going to one of the other tenants.

Either way, it is not OPs job to investigate. They can just enjoy the free electricity while it lasts.

Let’s see what other Redditors have to say.

LOL – Good idea but I bet the landlord would figure it out real quick when their bill went up to $1000 per month or more.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

Good point. They really need to read the contract closely to see what they are responsible for.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

Ouch, never agree to something like that! Why should you pay for their electricity?

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

It is nice when neighbors can work things out like this.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

Way to stand your ground. Never let a landlord force you to pay for their electricity.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

If you thought that was an interesting story, check this one out about a man who created a points system for his inheritance, and a family friend ends up getting almost all of it.