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I live in a house in Michigan that was turned into 6 apartments. My apartment is the main door on the main floor. it has recently come to my attention that the hallways and part of the house that is NOT apart of my apartment are wired with my apartment and are a part of my DTE bill.

I cannot keep paying a rising bill every month because he refuses to fix the problem. It's not fair for me to have to pay anything outside of my apartment. It is a month to month lease and I am a felon and he's one of the only people who will rent to me.

What can I do?

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  • Have you tried to negotiate? What you ask your landlord to do may easily cost thousands of dollars, Maybe your bill can be pro-rated (say 80% you, 20% landlord) or the electricity usage of the other parts can be estimated. Outlets in hallways are often just used for occasional vacuuming which isn't that big of a deal.
    – Hilmar
    Apr 23, 2022 at 6:44

3 Answers 3

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If it’s true that you have separate bills, then I believe you must also have a separate electrical meter and panel. By code, I believe this panel must be in your dwelling unit. It should not be in a common area. Simply turn off the breaker that leads to any outlets, lights, or appliances that you don’t use. If anyone asks what is happening, simply state that you want to ensure you’re only paying for the electricity that you’re using, and you’re only using the electricity when you need it.

If the landlord asks you to keep the hallway outlets operational, simply request that they move them to a separate meter or to subsidize your electric bill.

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. Apr 23, 2022 at 15:48
  • Please cite the code to which you refer. Building and residence codes differ in different jurisdictions, often by town or city, and almost always by state min the US. Apr 23, 2022 at 15:50
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There is a specific legal process you need to take when asking a landlord to make needed repairs, and/or repairs they refuse to make, even for month-to-month leases.

Check out https://michiganlegalhelp.org/self-help-tools/housing/i-am-having-trouble-getting-my-landlord-make-repairs# That site outlines the letter you need to send to the landlord to document the power billing issues and ask for a repair schedule. If he/she refuses to make the repairs that sorts out the wiring so you're not paying on other apartments, you can find a contractor to do the repairs and deduct the costs of the repair from your rent. But be sure and follow the procedures carefully. Contact michiganlegalhelp.org for help, if needed.

If the landlord retaliates against you for demanding or doing the repairs, and evicts you, michiganlegalhelp.org can advise you on that.

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  • If the apartments were built up to the electrical code, then the electrical panel for the dwelling unit would be in the unit itself, not in a common area. There is no reason that the outlets in question can't simply be deactivated from the breaker in the panel. Apr 22, 2022 at 23:13
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If you have signed a contract it could be quite hard to terminate your agreement unless a specific clause has been broken.

As devil's advocate to that you could always claim the contract wasn't transparent and you aren't prepared to pay for a service that someone else is using.

Find a good lawyer who's proficient in contract law.

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  • it's a month to month lease, no contract. I dont want to terminate, I just want wiring done correctly that I wouldn't be paying for any electricity in the house that is NOT apart of my apartment... how is it legal for him to have wiring done and make me pay more on my DTE bill that's not even apart of my apartment and none of the other 5 tenants have this problem.
    – user44833
    Apr 22, 2022 at 18:55
  • You're absolutely right I wouldn't want to pay for someone else's electric either! It's quite audacious for your landlord to even think that's okay
    – Barb
    Apr 22, 2022 at 18:59

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