My landlord has kept all the utilities (gas, water, electric, etc.) in their name so no one has to pay a security deposit due to poor credit history.
However, when it’s time to pay the monthly bill, they do not supply us with copies of the actual utility bills. Instead, they tell residents of each unit the amount they owe.
Right now, I am paying the same amount in electric in my apartment as I did when I lived in a house.
What are my rights? I am on a limited income and want to see my bills, not their given breakdown.
– Show Me the Bills
Dear Show Me:
First, see what your lease says about utilities, how they are paid, how the amount paid is determined.
Then, talk to the landlord and explain what you have said: you are on a limited income and need predictability in your bills, and ask if they can provide you with a copy for your records.
It is always good to communicate in writing – you could talk by phone or in person and follow up with an email or letter. Keep a log of your communications.
You can also request records on utility charges from the utility companies. Renters can also ask for this information before they rent a home, to help them know what to expect for utility bills before they sign a lease.
Finally, if everything checks out and the bills are still pretty high, utility companies often have energy-saving programs with discounts on energy efficiency supplies or appliances. Take a look at the Housing4Hoosiers “Help with Housing Needs” page under “Energy Assistance.” You might find out more about what is available and see if the property owner would consider participating to reduce energy costs.
Yours in safe and stable housing,
| Ask H4H helps renters and property owners and property managers understand more about their rights and responsibilities. However, the guidance provided is not legal advice.
Best practices for communications about your rental home:
Keep a regular log of your communications
If you decide you want legal help, please see legal resources under “Help with Housing Needs.”
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Housing4Hoosiers seeks to respond to all questions in a timely manner. We reserve the right to use anonymized questions in our “Ask H4H” blog posts.