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Re: Shared Gas Meter

Posted by Ken on October 17, 2000 at 18:04:13:

In Reply to: Shared Gas Meter posted by Bryna on October 17, 2000 at 14:14:34:

Usually when someone complains in this situation, a utility meter has been shared without their knowledge. However in your case the landlord made it quite clear both that the meter was shared, and that she would be paying the bill, less the agreed upon amount for your usage.

When you have the gas on your own meter, usually the "basic service charge" amounts to about $14 per month, plus usage, so I think the amount the property owner proposed is fair.

I don't know if it is "illegal" to have a shared meter, or merely a violation of utility company policy to draw off someone else's meter without their knowledge. If you do complain about this, the landlord will incur expenses to buy a new meter and have it installed properly, which he will undoubtedly pass along to you as a rent increase (or not renew your lease at all) so I don't know that you'd benefit from pursuing this issue further.

: Against my better judgement, I signed a lease for an apartment in Sunnyside Queens with the following clause in the rider to the lease:

: "Boiler is connected to tenant's gas meter. Landlord will reimburse tenant's COn Ed gas bill each month less $18.00/month estimated gas use for cooking by tenant."

: Despite misgivings, I could not convince the landlord to change the clause and took the apartment anyway. I have since found out that shared meters are illegal and that I am not legally obligated to have the gas bill in my name.

: My questions are:

: Even though shared meters are illegal, am I bound to the agreement stated in the lease rider?

: Does anyone have any suggestions about how to bring this up with my landlord? There doesn't seem to be a compromise, either I force her to do it the legal and fair way or I continue to do it in the screwed up way she insists on, which basically has me beholden to her for reimbursement checks along the lines of several hundred dollars a month.

: Thanks in advance for any help.

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