Is it legal to have the management company of my apartment complex have the external lights to the building linked to my electric bill and make me pay for it?

UPDATED: Apr 12, 2012

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Is it legal to have the management company of my apartment complex have the external lights to the building linked to my electric bill and make me pay for it?

I have a predicament that the management company has the external lights of the apartment complex linked to my electric bill without my permission. They claim it was overlooked when I signed the lease and want me to sign off on it now. It’s 2 months into a 12 months lease. They claim to compensate me by lowering my rent rate $40. Can they legally force me to pay their light if I don’t sign off on it? Can they have the electric linked to my bill? Did they breach the contract by doing this?

Asked on April 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under most municipalities' building and permit laws, rental are to have their own separate meters and common electricity use with respect to a complex should have its own separate electrical meter tied to the common area and not an individual rental unit. With respect to your unit, I suggest contacting your local building and permit department in that most likely the complex's lights should not be tied to your meter that you alone pay for.

The complex cannot legally require you to pay for complex electricity if your lease does not require you to do so.The complex's use of electricity needs to be segregated from the use of your meter where you are entitled to a rebate from the landlord. There is no breach of your rental agreement regarding what you have written. Rather there is some mistake that was made and then came to light that needs to be remedied by the landlord at his or her own cost.

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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