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My original lease stated that the tenants were responsible for the utilities, but the landlord put out an addendum which I signed with the following wording:

Not withstanding(sic) the lease rate with:

NAME (the tenants)

The tenant(s) in addition to the monthly rent, agree to pay an additional $45.00 per person per month for the following utilities:

Water
Heating
Gas
Air Conditioning
Electricity
Internet

All utilities must be used for normal household purposes and must not be wasted. In the event where a monthly utility bill reflects abuse of usage, the entire suite will be charged the difference. Abuse is defined as an overage of usage by 15% of the building average.

The tenant(s) shall pay BUILDING MANAGEMENT COMPANY on the FIRST day of every month during the lease term. It is agreed that the Landlord's Agent shall have the same remedies in the case of default in payment of any of the above as in the case of non-payment of rent.

LANDLORD'S AGENT
signature

TENANTS
signature

The landlord claims that this was never intended to be a long-term solution, and that it is not part of my original lease so they don't have to honor it. They're trying to force me to sign a new utilities agreement under the threat of shutting down the power. I've called the Landlord Tenant Board, and I understand my recourse if I'm legally in the right.

Who is correct here? Does the addendum supersede the original lease, or can the landlord just claim the original lease requires me to cover utilities and ignore the addendum? Does this change if I'm transferring the lease?

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I spoke to an RTA expert at legal aid this morning. The answer is that my landlord is in the wrong. Lease addendums are considered modifications to the original agreement and do not have a magical expiration date. There is also no "inconvenient to the landlord" section of the RTA which allows them to ignore the law.

For reference, the solution to such an issue is to wait. If the landlord interferes with necessary services, the tenant may contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit. An investigation will be conducted, and if the landlord is found to be in the wrong he will be served a court order to restore utilities and face a $25,000 fine. The process must occur on a weekday but will take a matter of hours to be resolved (according to the Landlord Tenant Board Hotline).

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