Do I owe my tenants for the hot water they’ve paid if the lease states hot water was included in rent even if electricity isn’t?

UPDATED: Aug 17, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Aug 17, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I owe my tenants for the hot water they’ve paid if the lease states hot water was included in rent even if electricity isn’t?

I am a landlord and my lease had a typo in it stating that hot water was included in rent it was supposed to just say water since the condo fee covers water sewer. However, electricity was not part of the rent and there is an electric water heater installed. Which is right? I am not obligated to pay the electric bill which contains the hot water. My former tenants are inquiring if I owe them for the hot water for the past 2.5 years.

Asked on August 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the written lease agreement states that the landlord is to pay for the "hot water" for the rental and the agreement is signed by the tenants and you as the landlord, then you are obligated to pay for the hot water regardless if there was an error in the document as to such. I presume you prepared the lease agreement. As such, any ambiguities are to be construed against you.

I suggest that you draw up some document giving the former tenants some "credit" for the hot water that they have been paying for in the past and have it dated and signed by both of you to resolve the issue you are writing about and end this issue.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption