Is a landlord allowed to wait 10 months before furnishing a tenant with a utilities bill?

I rent a cottage from my landlord. We have separate meters. When I moved in he insisted that the electric be in MY name, but the gas and oil be in HIS. I never received a bill. 10 months later he tells me I owe $1500 for gas and oil and it is "seriously past due". I knew I would have to pay for gas/oil, but it does not seem fair to hit me with it all at once. In the lease it states that "tenant shall be responsible for arranging for and paying for all utility services required on the premises." I live in New York State, but not in NYC.

Goshen, NY -

Attorney Answers (1)

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens

Landlord / Tenant Lawyer - New York, NY
Answered

Dear can a landlord wait for ten months before sending a bill?

Whether your lease allows for the landlord's delay or does not allow for the delay, your landlord waited ten month to send you a bill. I take it that he did not break down the oil charges by delivery date, gallons and price per gallon, and did not provide you with an itemization for the gas (propane or municipal?)

Without an itemization you have no way to ascertain the accuracy of the landlord's invoice to you, so you could first force him to provide an itemization with copies of the slips from the oil deliveries, as well as for the propane or from his gas utility charges. He may not be able to back up the claim you owe $1500.00.

The fact that he delayed the passing on to you of costs you agreed to pay would not likely be prohibited by the lease if the lease has a standard "no waiver" provision. If you are in doubt about the terms of the lease consult with an attorney.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should... more

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