Landlords and bills for time I wasn't living in my apartment

ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So, I moved into my current apartment on July 1st. However, my roommate and I paid for an extra 2 weeks rent in order to get the apartment, from June 15th-July 1st. Today, I got an electric bill in the mail forwarded from the property manager for $27.25 (a little less than 400 kilowatt hours), saying that since we moved in on the 15th, it was our responsibility. Given that we hadn't actually moved here until the 15th, and 400 kilowatt hours seems a bit much for an apartment that wasn't being lived in, do we have a responsibility to pay it?

I'm guessing "yes," but it seems kinda nuts that someone used 400 kwh of our power over 15 days without our permission (most likely the property manager left something plugged in or something), and we have to pay for it.

Thanatos on

Posts

  • ClipseClipse Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    The electricity is only your responsibility only if you had the electric company activate it (if necessary) and put it under your name (or your roommate's name). I'm assuming that your electric company and landlord behave normally; if the electric company bills the landlord (rather than the tenants) and the landlord bills you, then you may be responsible.

    Clipse on
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I guess it depends on the property manager, but I would assume that they plugged in what would be expected for you renting the property then (ie, fridge/maybe washer/dryer/heating?). They don't really care if you were physically there or not, and unless you specifically told them not to plug stuff in / turn off your heating / etc (which I don't know if they'd actually be willing to do anyway), I'd agree that you're responsible for it.

    Now, if it was just a fridge and nothing else, then that does seem a bit high... but I know I've had the same thing happen (paying rent for a time before moving in) and I've always been hit with that kind of fees for power/garbage/etc etc

    *edit

    Yeah, I guess that's true if you're in a larger complex, though even then my gf was pretty much forced to set up the stuff long before she physically moved in... I've mostly been in single apartments, so it's been more through the landlord for me

    Gdiguy on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Gdiguy wrote: »
    I guess it depends on the property manager, but I would assume that they plugged in what would be expected for you renting the property then (ie, fridge/maybe washer/dryer/heating?). They don't really care if you were physically there or not, and unless you specifically told them not to plug stuff in / turn off your heating / etc (which I don't know if they'd actually be willing to do anyway), I'd agree that you're responsible for it.

    Now, if it was just a fridge and nothing else, then that does seem a bit high... but I know I've had the same thing happen (paying rent for a time before moving in) and I've always been hit with that kind of fees for power/garbage/etc etc

    *edit

    Yeah, I guess that's true if you're in a larger complex, though even then my gf was pretty much forced to set up the stuff long before she physically moved in... I've mostly been in single apartments, so it's been more through the landlord for me
    Okay, after a bit of internet searching...

    A refrigerator should be burning 20-30 kwh per month. So, assuming they left that plugged in, that explains 10-15 kwh of it. Our heat was off when we got here. Each apartment is on its own meter.

    So, where the hell did that extra 390ish kwh come from?

    Thanatos on
  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Check your billing period. It's very likely that your 400 kWh total is from June 15th through August 17th, which is just about the same as my bill from nearly the same period (June 21st until August 17th).

    Given that my average kWh per day in June was about 8, and the Summer Residential Energy rate is $0.0376 per kWh, you can safely assume that the two week charge on your bill amounts to about two bucks.

    Seattle Thread on
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Ok, then yeah, for that I'd go have a talk with them, with everything else off it shouldn't be nearly that high... does the bill actually say it's from the 15th to the end of the month?

    You may get screwed anyway depending on how nice your landlord is, but I can't imagine what they could've done to use that much power even if they were being dishonest... I mean, there aren't that many reasons he would want to steal your power (especially if the bill is from the power company, and he's not going to touch the money anyway), and unless it's a neighbor who went through the trouble of stealing your line, it would be very strange.

    Gdiguy on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    This is June 18th to July 1st. It has to be, because it's in the landlord's name, and we put it in our names on the 1st. The dates on the bill are June 18th to July 1st. And the first 130 hours are at $.0376 per kWh; the other 266 are at more than twice that.

    Thanatos on
  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    And lemme ask, for clarity's sake... this is an official SCL bill, not an invoice that the landlord typed up, right?

    Seattle Thread on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Makershot wrote: »
    And lemme ask, for clarity's sake... this is an official SCL bill, not an invoice that the landlord typed up, right?
    That is correct. Including the correct account number.

    A copy of one, anyhow.

    Thanatos on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?

    Thanatos on
  • Chief1138Chief1138 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Can't you just ask the landlord?

    Chief1138 on
    My roommate last year was very drunk when he got back from his gf's room after a night of sex and couldn't remember a few things: 1 he was no longer in her room 2 that was my bed he was trying to get into and 3 that i wasn't the gf and not into doggy style. Needless to say he sobered up quickly and its not like anything really happened...
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Chief1138 wrote: »
    Can't you just ask the landlord?
    I got the letter from the landlord. I've called and left a message, but if we're going to Have Words over it, I'd much rather go in as prepared as possible, than go in just saying "hmmm, this doesn't seem right."

    Thanatos on
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?

    Does it have a dedicated hot water heater? 5kw a day, apparently.

    Ruckus on
    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • Chief1138Chief1138 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Chief1138 wrote: »
    Can't you just ask the landlord?
    I got the letter from the landlord. I've called and left a message, but if we're going to Have Words over it, I'd much rather go in as prepared as possible, than go in just saying "hmmm, this doesn't seem right."

    I know you got the letter from the landlord, but then he was probably assuming you'd just pay it without question. You'll probably get stuck with the bill anyway but he does owe you an explanation.

    Chief1138 on
    My roommate last year was very drunk when he got back from his gf's room after a night of sex and couldn't remember a few things: 1 he was no longer in her room 2 that was my bed he was trying to get into and 3 that i wasn't the gf and not into doggy style. Needless to say he sobered up quickly and its not like anything really happened...
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?
    Does it have a dedicated hot water heater? 5kw a day, apparently.
    Hmmmm, good point. I just looked at ours, and the estimate is $400 a year.

    However, that assumes the place is being lived in, and that still doesn't explain all of the bill. Though, I'll feel less bad about paying it, now.

    Thanatos on
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?
    Does it have a dedicated hot water heater? 5kw a day, apparently.
    Hmmmm, good point. I just looked at ours, and the estimate is $400 a year.

    However, that assumes the place is being lived in, and that still doesn't explain all of the bill. Though, I'll feel less bad about paying it, now.

    Well, we've accounted for what, about 255Kw so far?

    Ruckus on
    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?
    Does it have a dedicated hot water heater? 5kw a day, apparently.
    Hmmmm, good point. I just looked at ours, and the estimate is $400 a year.

    However, that assumes the place is being lived in, and that still doesn't explain all of the bill. Though, I'll feel less bad about paying it, now.
    Well, we've accounted for what, about 255Kw so far?
    The hot-water heater says about 300 kWh a month (and it's the summer, so it should be less), so, like, 165ish.

    Thanatos on
  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?
    Dude, my bill for a two-month period is 400 kWh, and I leave my computer running 24 hours. It's nigh impossible to rack up that same amount in a fourteen-day period.

    I'd say you'll have to call SCL (206.684.3000). Someone there can tell you what is happening--it's my guess that either the previous tenant had an outstanding balance, so the landlord told SCL that you moved in on the 15th so that he could avoid being held responsible (per this thing), or they fucked up and tied the meter-readings to whomever the current tenant is.

    Either way, it seems pretty incredulous to have that many hours in a vacant apartment attached to your name for a billing period during which you weren't even a resident.

    Seattle Thread on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Dongpuller wrote: »
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?
    Dude, my bill for a two-month period is 400 kWh, and I leave my computer running 24 hours. It's nigh impossible to rack up that same amount in a fourteen-day period.

    I'd say you'll have to call SCL (206.684.3000). Someone there can tell you what is happening--it's my guess that either the previous tenant had an outstanding balance, so the landlord told SCL that you moved in on the 15th so that he could avoid being held responsible (per this thing), or they fucked up and tied the meter-readings to whomever the current tenant is.

    Either way, it seems pretty incredulous to have that many hours in a vacant apartment attached to your name for a billing period during which you weren't even a resident.
    Do you have an electric water heater?

    And yeah, I talked to SCL already. It isn't an outstanding balance, because the balance was paid up through the 18th, which is when the guy from the electric company came and did a reading.

    Thanatos on
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Faa

    Or

    FOUR

    Ha

    Undred

    Hundred

    Maybe the property manager had it painted or something and they were running air compressors or fans or something. Maybe somebody left all the lights and fans on (especially if there's Potlights in the kitchen or something) for a few days?

    Unfortunately, for the amount of the bill, I don't think it's really worth it to try and fight anyway. I mean, we've figured that at least half of the bill is legitamately your problem, so you're at worst getting cheated out of like 15 bucks. I lost that much last year from not checking to see if the change I got from twenties was counterfit.

    Ruckus on
    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Also, am I correct that 400 kWh for two weeks for a totally unlived-in apartment is unreasonable?

    Definitely, assuming you weren't holding a rave there every night.

    GoodOmens on
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  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Unfortunately, for the amount of the bill, I don't think it's really worth it to try and fight anyway. I mean, we've figured that at least half of the bill is legitamately your problem, so you're at worst getting cheated out of like 15 bucks. I lost that much last year from not checking to see if the change I got from twenties was counterfit.
    No, the $27ish-dollar bill is the full amount for the 400ish kWh.
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Do you have an electric water heater?

    And yeah, I talked to SCL already. It isn't an outstanding balance, because the balance was paid up through the 18th, which is when the guy from the electric company came and did a reading.
    I think I might have a dedicated water heater, but I'm not sure. According to that link, though, my computer eats up twice as much power as the average water heater does.

    I'm stumped. The only thing I could offer would be tales and anecdotes about this city's highly inefficient bill-collection system, and other weird shit that friends, family and myself have gone through with SCL.

    Seattle Thread on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Dongpuller wrote: »
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Do you have an electric water heater?

    And yeah, I talked to SCL already. It isn't an outstanding balance, because the balance was paid up through the 18th, which is when the guy from the electric company came and did a reading.
    I think I might have a dedicated water heater, but I'm not sure. According to that link, though, my computer eats up twice as much power as the average water heater does.

    I'm stumped. The only thing I could offer would be tales and anecdotes about this city's highly inefficient bill-collection system, and other weird shit that friends, family and myself have gone through with SCL.
    Man, that site is on crack, then, because electric water heaters eat up shitloads of power, and a computer eats up about as much as a 60-watt lightbulb. It's the monitor that's the big power drain, and that shuts off while you're not using it.

    Thanatos on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Heh, she just said "oops, didn't realize you weren't living there during that period! Our bad! Disregard the bill."

    They did change managers, so it's understandable, but given what other people have told me about the landlords, I was expecting a fight. :P

    Thanks, all.

    Thanatos on
  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    Man, that site is on crack, then, because electric water heaters eat up shitloads of power, and a computer eats up about as much as a 60-watt lightbulb. It's the monitor that's the big power drain, and that shuts off while you're not using it.

    Most PSUs are between 60% and 80% efficient. They're rated at upwards of 500W. If you're gaming using a dual video card rig and a 70% efficient 500W PSU, then your KWh is going to be a great and fantastic deal higher than one 60-Watt lightbulb. It won't really be 500/0.7 but I'm willing to bet you it'll be consistently upwards of 350 Watts with regular spikes over 400 a lot of the time. So figure around 400/0.7 to get a rough consumption, divide by the number of minutes in use, multiply by 60 to get your KWh.

    PCs not in use and simply on probably use as much as a 60 Watt lightbulb, because you're basically powering the fans, keeping voltage alive across the volatile memory and really that's it.

    Pheezer on
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