Can a landlord harass me regardingmy use of the utilitiesand ask me to turn them off if theyare included in my rent?

UPDATED: Dec 18, 2011

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Can a landlord harass me regardingmy use of the utilitiesand ask me to turn them off if theyare included in my rent?

I am renting with utilities included. However, during the hottest part of summer she showed me bills stating the bill went up. I then shut A/C completely off and suffered. Now that it is cold, I use the heat very sparingly. She has now called me and said turn it off. Both my spouse and I are disabled (and my spouse is just returning from intensive care in the hospital due to surgery). We only use heat when it is so cold in home – below 65 degrees. She states she will show me the bill and is expecting us to pay the additional fees. This is not a was not part of our rental agreement.

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord can harass you about your use of the utilities that are included in your rent, however by doing this, she is running a dangerous course with you for the simple fact that you are entitled to use as much or little heat in your rental as you deem appropriate.

I would write the landlord stating that the utility usage by you in the rental that is included in the rental payment is allowed and that she needs to discontinue bothering you about this fact. I would keep a copy of this letter for future reference.

If matters get worse, I would consult with a landlord tenant attorney about the situation you are writing about.

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