Is it legal for my landlord to have a shared PG&E meter with my apartment and the apartment below me?

Asked by caitlin.cogdill, San Francisco, CA Mon Jan 14, 2013

The apartment below mine is made up of a family of four that uses a washer/dryer and, from what we suspect, space heaters as our energy bill increased $50 this past month and we did not increase use of our heater. We are wondering if this shared meter is exploitative as we are being charged for energy we do not use. Can someone confirm if this is legal or not? I have tried mining through various SF Rent Board online documents and can't find any conclusive information either way.

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Jeff Woo, Other Pro, San Francisco, CA
Mon Jan 14, 2013
It is legal for a landlord to have a common/single utility service for multiple units. It is not uncommon. What is required is that there is an objective way to divide the bill. It need not be fair or equitable, but hopefully it is. It need only be agreed upon at the commencement of the tenancy.

If is possible by agreement to revise the method of allocation, but all of the effected tenants and the owner must agree.

Best of luck.
2 votes
Thank you for the consult. I really appreciate the information!
Flag Mon Jan 14, 2013
Leopold A Ro…, , San Francisco, CA
Mon Jan 14, 2013
In allocating the split, you might consider basing it on a per-person basis. What cannot be accounted for is that a sixteen year old with hair longer than five inches will take fifteen times as long using a hair dryer as a ninety year old male with hair of any length.

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