How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Phillips Esq. Your Own Question
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 23795
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
16551887
Type Your Landlord-Tenant Question Here...
Phillips Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We are leasing a condo where the utilities are billed to

This answer was rated:

We are leasing a condo where the utilities are billed to each condo by individual meters. The meters broke and the condo association has not been able to bill anyone for over a year for gas, At a board meeting, where we are not allowed to attend as leaders (owners only) the board decided that instead of fixing the meters that they would bill all 84 condos by just dividing the total water and sewer utility bill by 84 and each condo pay 1/84th of the bill. When looking back at our bills before this took place we are all of a sudden faced with about a 40% increase in our water and sewer bill. The board stated that they were going to implement this because repairing the individual meters would cost them too much money. My wife and I are elderly and live alone plus we travel for months at a time and are not in the condo. I am asking if this is a legal move on their part or do I have any recourse? When we moved in we were told and it is in our contract that we wil pay utilities by individual usage which we did upon our leasing the condo. Thank you for your reply Monte Graham
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Upon receiving, in March 2018, one bill for the 12 months of 2017 based on shared calculations, I emailed the Rental Management Company (TMG) that represents the owner. As we had absolutely no written communication that the utility calculations has changed I brought it to the attention of TMG and questioned how our monthly costs had risen by approximately 40% and included significant amounts for the two months we were traveling. By return email TMG responded with two attachment letters that had been sent to the condo owner but not to us. One from the Condo attorney stating the Association has the right to change method of billing to owners and the other from the Condo Association to the owner explaining the change in billing methodology of allocation. As that was the first we had heard of this, I responded by email to TMG saying I was disappointed that I wasted time reviewing and calculating the bills and that I was extremely disappointed we had not received any prior notice. It was only this morning that I found the following statement in my lease agreement. “Resident agrees that Resident may upon (30) days prior written notice from Lessor to Resident, begin receiving a bill for a change in cost (increase/decrease), change in service, utility billing service, or methodology of allocation”. So does receiving copies of the letters sent to the owner a “written notice” to us. Also it seems “prior notice” could not be retroactive for the months of 2017.
JA: Where is the condo located?
Customer: 707 N Hayden island drive, ptlnd or 97217
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Is this a free consultation?
Hi, I'm Josie, a moderator for this topic.
I've noticed you have not yet received a response to this question.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer.
If you are, please let me know. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I would like a response.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

I am so sorry to read about your difficulties.

Kindly note that I just came across your post. I do not have control over the question list or the promises made to you by the site as to the response time. I am just a site user just like you. Nonetheless, I apologize for the delay in response to your post.

Kindly give me a few minutes to prepare my response.

Thank you for your patience.

It was only this morning that I found the following statement in my lease agreement. “Resident agrees that Resident may upon (30) days prior written notice from Lessor to Resident, begin receiving a bill for a change in cost (increase/decrease), change in service, utility billing service, or methodology of allocation”. So does receiving copies of the letters sent to the owner a “written notice” to us.

Response 1: No. The owner must send you a separate notice that the utilities bills may now increase due to change adopted by the Condo Association.

Also it seems “prior notice” could not be retroactive for the months of 2017.

Response 2: That is correct. However, pursuant to your agreement, the owner has not properly given you the 30-day notice required in order for you to pay these increases in your bills. So, the owner must pay the difference in your bills.

Best wishes,

A 5-star positive rating to my response is appreciated so that I can receive credit for responding to your post. There is no additional cost to you for giving a positive rating. However, that is how I get paid for answering questions on this site.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 23795
Experience: B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
Phillips Esq. and 5 other Landlord-Tenant Specialists are ready to help you