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Utilities included in lease, but tenants have to pay for electrical since conversion -- should they be reimbursed by landlord?

Los Angeles, CA |

The lease states that all utilities are included in rent. Last year. the landlord installed separate meters for all the units and tenants were then required to pay for the electrical. Someone told me that since the lease agreement for all the tenants states that all utilities are included in the rent, the landlord is required to reimburse the tenants for their electrical bills or the tenants can deduct their electrical bills from their rent. Is this the case? No tenants have received any rent reductions or reimbursements for electrical bills. Dos the landlord owe tenants $$ for their elec. bills since last year? Thank you.

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Attorney answers 1


In this answer I'm going to assume you live in a rent-controlled apartment. In that case, the landlord can't increase your rent, which includes all "housing services", except by the pre-approved amount yearly after giving you a 30 day written notice. Therefore, the landlord would have to pay for the electric going forward. However, the landlord would be entitled to raise the rent an additional 1% per year because he pays the electricity.

If you are not in a rent-controlled apartment, the landlord can simply give you a written 30 day notice of change in terms of tenancy PROVIDED that the lease has already expired, and you're now month-to-month. If the lease is still in effect, the landlord still has to pay for the utilities.

Fran Campbell

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