Is a utility billing dispute a defense to eviction?

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2012

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Is a utility billing dispute a defense to eviction?

I currently rent from a private owner (duplex) and live up stairs. I have been complaing about my high electric bill and was informed everything was seperate. I hired 2 licensed contractors who advised everything was connected to my unit. My land lord stated he will discount my rent $6.50 for each month I’ve paid for the whole house. I was not an agreement with that, as some months my bill would be $200+ the average being around $80-$90. My landlord stated to take the $6.50 credit or I would be evicited for nonpayment. I do not wish to take the credit, sowhat could I do to prevent eviction?

Asked on June 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of most states and local municipalities in this country, the meters for a residential rental must be separate and distinct from other units if the tenant is being charged by the landlord for utilities on a monthly basis.

You seem to have a legitimate defense for not paying your assessed utility bill if you are paying the full freight for all other tenants' with respect to the landlord's eviction action against you.

I suggest that you consult further with a landlord tenant attorney and/or your local tenant housing clinic about the dispute you are in with your landlord and how to go about solidfying your defense to the eviction action.

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.

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