Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceRenting & Real Estate · 1 month ago

Utility bill late fee charges (tenant & subletter)?

I sublet a room in an apartment in Toronto, ON. I live with the tenant of the apartment along with another girl who is subleasing the other room. (So 3 girls total in one unit, and one of the three girls is the tenant of the apartment whos' name is actually on the lease). 

The rent and internet bill are considered "fixed amounts" so I have no problem making my payments on time because I already know how much they cost, whereas the utility bill fluctuates based per month on usage (obviously) and it is paid by dividing the amount between the three of us living in the apartment. So the problem is that the utility bill is delivered only to the tenant via email or she accesses her account online to view the bill, me and the other girl (the sublessors) do not have any access to the bill when the company sends it out, we rely solely on the tenant to tell us the amount owing on the utility bill. With that, the tenant never lets us know how much we owe her for the utility bill on time (for 1-3 months at a time). There are obviously late fee charges that are added onto the bill because it is not being paid on time, and I guess my question here is; should me and the other girl (the sublessors) be required to pay the late fee charges on the utility bills even though we have no control over it, or should the tenant take care of the late fees because its her responsibility to rely the amount owing to her sublessors? 

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  • 1 month ago

    If you paid her within a reasonable time of when it was due and she allowed too much passage of time before paying, then she should pay the late fee - all of it.  From now on, you and the other girl should - together - tell her that you want a copy of the utility bill to see what you owe, and pay her 1/3 on the spot.  Then, she has no excuse for charging you any late fee.  If she refused to give you a copy of the utility bill, then don't pay her.  She's unreasonable and she is hiding something, perhaps, overcharging you.

    Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience & with Landlord & Tenant law experience.
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  • G R
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No way. Make sure you see and get a copy of the bill before you pay. The primary tenant, who's name is on the bill, the one who is late in telling you is responsible for the late charges.

    Why do you wait for her to tell you anyway, don't you ask wheres the electric bill.....? Ask her to give you the user name and password so you can check it or set up reminders.....

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  • 1 month ago

    It is standard for the bill to only go to the one on the account. Utility companies do not send more than one bill for the same account. She should be giving you a copy of the bill but there is not really anything you can do about her not giving it to you.

    No, you should not be responsible for the late fee caused by her.  The problem is there is no way to enforce it.  You can voice your opinion to her but there is not really anything else you can do. 

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Insist on a copy of the bill.  Pay only the portion you agreed to and let the tenant know that the late fees fall on her for not paying and not communicating with you.   Do it in a certified letter and then walk away.  No texts and no phone calls.

    You have no moral obligation to pay late fees for her.

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  • 1 month ago

    she should pay the late fees. she should also print and show u the actual bill she receives in her email. maybe she takes the sum out of her a.s.s and is taking advantage of u two. how would u know. demand her to print u the bill or take a screen shot of it, don't take her word

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  • 1 month ago

    the legal and moral responsibility is on the sublease unless there was a preexisting debt. even if there was a preexisting debt, the burden is probably still on the sublease holder for not doing "due diligence" as if anyone would think something like that before falling victim to it first. 

    also, when i had a roommate i'd secretly charge the person like $5.00 extra a month or something like that for wasting energy. he never asked to look at The Bill and i was never (too) greedy.  maybe she's doing something like this.

    have her forward the email from the utility or the pdf from their website to you and if you see past due bills make an arrangement with her for you to get the household caught up and then she can repay you as she's able if necessary. (of course, no accusations until you have facts). at worst you'd be out, what? a couple hundred bucks for the sake of a more comfortable domestic situation?

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    • i'd just mention for you to be prepared for that day she can't afford the rent either. i'm not saying it will come but it might. again, don't make accusations/assumptions if you want peace. just be prepared for it and offer help with saving (Dave Ramsey's envelope budget system is excellent). 

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