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Is it considered utility fraud if a landlord charges more for utilities than his bill states? Is this a breach of contract?

Chesapeake Beach, MD |

I live in a residential basement apartment in Calvert County, MD. I recently discovered that my landlord is receiving an energy assistance grant from the state and is on a payment plan with the electric company. Our lease agreement states that we will pay 50% of utilities because we are sharing a meter with the upstairs apartment. We had no quarrel with this until discovering that we were being charged for usage and not what was stated in the bill. For example, for one month his actual bill was $0 due to the grant being submitted to the electric company, however he was charging us approximately $280 for the usage. If he is receiving a grant from the state, can he charge us more than the actual electric bill? Would we have grounds to break our lease due to breach of contract?

Attorney Answers 1


I think you asked this before. Let's see if my answer matches. Only regulated public utilities may mark up utility. The exceptions are for large commercial properties or large apartment complexes.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise.

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