Hallway Electric Fixture on Tenant 's Electric

7 Replies

Hi, 

My tenant just discovered that three different ceiling lights with led bulbs in hallway are on her electricity. I do not have anything in lease that says anything exactly on who pays for the hallway lights. She is asking me to pay her for all the past months she has had lease with me. 

I checked online and it seems like Led bulbs have a consumption of $9 per year. With 3 bulbs in total, it will be 27$ per year. But she is demanding 70$ per month and not budging. What do you guys think I should do - pay her the entire amount or .. 

Thanks for a great forum and advice in advance. 

Mike.

Updated 22 days ago

In NJ, what happens if tenant goes to court for this issue?

I would approach this situation in a calm and respectful manner. Let the tenant know how you got to your number ($9 / year / lightbulb). If your tenant is demanding $70 / month, I would ask how he / she is getting to that number. As long as you are respectful and understanding, everything should work out! 

@Mike Savage

I'd just send her a check for your best estimation of the actual cost to her and a mathematical explanation of how you got there. [(Bulb wattage) X (3) X (Hours on per day) X (number of total days in her lease) / (1000)] X (the kw cost of electricity) In your letter, explain it is the past and future considerations for the hallway lights being fed from behind her electrical meter during the lease period and will be the only consideration made.

Originally posted by @Tina Tsysh :

I would approach this situation in a calm and respectful manner. Let the tenant know how you got to your number ($9 / year / lightbulb). If your tenant is demanding $70 / month, I would ask how he / she is getting to that number. As long as you are respectful and understanding, everything should work out! 

 Tried, did not work.

Assuming there is zero way to get other power to those fixtures (including paying an electrician a few hundred $’s so it’s right for this and following tenants.) and you can’t find a decent battery operated version. And you decide these lights are a safety requirement. I would include a photo of the led light box saying what the yearly cost to run the bulb would be (remember to double or triple the number if it says running 8 or 12 Horus per day.) and then say I can offer you this much or I can let you out of your lease and if you wish to meet in small claims court I will see you there. 

If you tried being reasonable and they won't budge. Let them out of their lease. I wouldn't mention court at this time. Apartments are renting extremely fast right now. Good chance to get the rent price up and get a better tenant.

Originally posted by @Todd Rasmussen :

@Mike Savage

I'd just send her a check for your best estimation of the actual cost to her and a mathematical explanation of how you got there. [(Bulb wattage) X (3) X (Hours on per day) X (number of total days in her lease) / (1000)] X (the kw cost of electricity) In your letter, explain it is the past and future considerations for the hallway lights being fed from behind her electrical meter during the lease period and will be the only consideration made.

Thanks for the suggestion.

 

I see both sides of this one and the tenant should be aware it is in the bill but realistically how much is 3 bulbs costing.  Next time I would advertise the price and tell them they are getting a $5 credit for the lights that more than makes up for the electric.  If the tenant is not budgeting due to common sense this may be a great time for the happy clause.  Offer to meet up with them with 2 contracts in hand one where you give a credit of what you feel is reasonable moving forward and 1 where she is voluntarily ending her lease.  It is up to her but she needs to make a decision.  She seems like a pain and if this doesn’t work out and they are not on a term lease it may not hurt to have a termination notice with you as well.