Excessive gas usage/bill in rental - is landlord responsible?!
This is a long story, so let me summarize with several points: 1) As tenant, IÂm responsible for propane gas (used for heat, hot water, cooking). 2) Since IÂve never lived in Massachusetts, I checked with gas supplier about gas usage before renting the small house in July. 3) Based on their records to previous tenants, gas guys said 11-1200 gallons/year for this house. This is acceptable to me, so I rented the house. 4) Gas supplierÂs policy is to have new customers fill up the tank, so I filled 450 gallons on July 1. 5) On Nov 28 the gas oven wouldnÂt work, and landlord discovered that the gas tank was completely empty Â shock horror! 6) Another 425 gallons had to be delivered. 7) Gas guys later said there was a tiny leak, but that could only cause 50 gallons to leak out Â not HUNDREDS of gallons. 8) By posting to internet forums and using "gas calculators", I should only have used 350 gallons from July ÂDec. (Even this figure is more than fair because IÂm very frugal in my energy consumption Â thermostat at 66F Â winter has been mild, etc.) 9) Both gas supplier and landlord agree that the usage is WAY way way too much, but they canÂt figure out the reason.
So now I am in this desperate situation: Gas supplier says I owe them $1,800. I am happy to pay them $800 (i.e. 350 gal), which is my fair share. (Again, this figure is according to the gas supplierÂs experience and past records. IÂm not trying to take advantage of anyone.) But itÂs just not fair that I have to pay for gas which I honestly DID NOT USE! Why should I have to fork out an extra $1,000!
Landlord seems a reasonable person and he has been informed of this situation all along. He realizes that it is his responsibility to take care of furnaces, appliances, etc. But he doesnÂt think that he has been negligent, and so he shouldnÂt have to pay for the disappeared (and disappearing) gas!!
Even as I type, gas (and MY $$$) are flying out into space! That really turns my stomach upside down! Am I held 100% responsible for this gigantic gas bill since the lease says the tenant pays for utilities? Is there any way the landlord can be held responsible too? Please help!!
Many thanks --