I own a duplex (side/side) we live on one side the tenants on the other. When our last tenants left we took over one of the bedrooms...making our side a 3 bedroom and the renters side a 1 bedroom, the house was designed for this so it was rather easy. What we did not think about was that the electrical supply would still be on the renters bill...for that 1 bedroom. We learned this shortly after they moved in because of some electrical issues. We discussed this with them at the time and they seemed ok with it, asking that our son turn everything off when not home. They have signed 2 leases since. The last lease included a 75$ increase with a 25$ a month discount to offset the electrical bill. They have done the math and figure they should have been getting this all along and want $1200.00.
Real Estate Attorney
It sounds like you have some solid evidence on your side. Anybody can sue anyone for anything, so gather your evidence, witnesses, if any, and present it in court. You might want to consider filing an answer as well if it is not too late. The judge just may side with you.
Actively practicing law in Texas. Inactive licenses in Arizona and Georgia. All answers are general in nature and no attorney/client relationship exists in this forum.
It appears that the offset for the electricity was provided for in the lease, so you have a strong case that this is not owed. Plus, they knew about and didn't complain about it for the past 2 years, so they have waived their right to this claim.
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Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
You need to consult a local landlord-tenant lawyer immediately. At least here in Oregon, if a tenant has to pay for utilities that benefit others, there are substantial penalties to the landlord if the lease does not explicitly identify and alert the tenant to it. Absent legal requirements, however, I agree that you have a variety of arguments in your favor.
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