Post # 1
My sister and her Fiance have been renting a duplex in Norfolk, VA and have had nothing but trouble since they moved in. To name a few:
1. They created a list of repairs when they first moved in and none of the repairs have been done.
2. They JUST found out that both units of the duplex have single meters for both electricity AND water,sewer, trash.
So…basically the landlord has arbitrarily been deciding how much of the bill is theirs. My sister found this out today when she contacted the utility company.
The landlord’s explanation is that it’s in their lease that the utilities will be split in half when both units are occupied (regardless of who uses more electricity, water, etc) and when either side is empty, the occupied unit pays the full cost. So even though they have been on deployment for 3 months, their bill is sky high b/c of the other tenant.
My question to my lawyer bees…Is this even LEGAL? I thought that each unit had to have a different meter by law unless the landlord was paying the utilities, water, etc.
Post # 3
I don’t know anything about the laws but I’m from Norfolk. I looked at tons (seriously 20-25) apartments over the summer and I would say it is odd that they have to pay for water, sewer, and trash because I don’t think any of the places I looked did.
Do they rent from a company or individual? If you don’t mind me asking, what area are they in? It sounds like your sister is in the Navy. I do know there are certain laws to protect Navy renters with situations like deployment or having to move, but since I’m not Navy I don’t know exactly what they are. You should have sis look into that though.
Sorry I can’t be more help :/
Post # 4
She lives off of Bay Street. They actually rent from a property management company but I don’t know if it’s owned by a single person or not. It’s really weird b/c the utilities dept didn’t have any record that it even WAS a duplex. They thought it was a single family residence. I am going to suggest to her that she contact someone on base to see what they can do to help.
Post # 5
I’m not in VA but I had a similar experience where the duplex was on a single meter and I was the one stuck paying what I thought was MY bill when it reality it was the bill for BOTH units. The utility company came out and re-did it so that they were on seperate meters but then it was a huge mess trying to figure out which meter was which since we had 3 meters out there for a while. The landlord should put in a separate meters for the individual units, if it was an apartment building they’d had separate meters wouldn’t they?
Post # 6
On the repairs, depends on what they were – big things, or small things? As far as the meter thing, unless their lease says they split (which would be very weird) this is a big rip off and they should get tough.
Post # 7
Do a search for Virginia Landlord Tenant Act to download a free copy of her legal rights. I don’t think a landlord can charge her for the utilities like that unless they have separate meters or the landlord has meters on every fixture. I don’t know the laws in VA, but usually there is a time limit set for each type of repair, depending on if it’s emergency, urgent, etc. Make sure she keps a record of all communications and everything that has happened.
Post # 8
I also want add: you can look up in the county or city records if it is a legal duplex or not. When you down load the Landlord Tenant Act look closely at:
§55-248.21:1. Early termination of rental agreement by military personnel
This might provide them a way to terminate their lease.
FYI- I’m not a lawyer & don’t hold me accountable for anything. Just trying to point you in the right direction!
Post # 9
I wanted to ask, are iehter of them in the military- I ask because of the location. We use to live nearby.
Post # 10
@Leafy…they both are in the Navy
@Arizona…my sis and her fiance are meeting with the Navy legal dept on Tuesday
Post # 11
Sorry, I totally missed the part about them being deployed. My Fiance is in the Navy and we used to live in the next town over. They should be able get out of their lease because this will be seen as taking advantage of federal employees. Legal should be able to get it all straightened out.