Can a landlord charge for gas when the units are not metered separatly?
10/25/2007 - Landlord Tenant - State: IA #10924
Does an apartment community that has 30 units in each building have the right to charge the tenants for water and gas if the apartments are not metered seperately? The apartments have no gas appliances and are heated with electricity not gas.
The following is an Iowa statute:
562A.15 Landlord to maintain fit premises.
1. The landlord shall:
a. Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
b. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
c. Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition. The landlord shall not be liable for any injury caused by any objects or materials which belong to or which have been placed by a tenant in the common areas of the premises used by the tenant.
d. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.
e. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences, accessible to all tenants, for the central collection and removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal.
f. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
If the duty imposed by paragraph "a" of this subsection is greater than a duty imposed by another paragraph of this subsection, the landlord's duty shall be determined by reference to paragraph "a" of this subsection.
2. The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in paragraphs "e" and "f" of subsection 1 and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith.
3. The landlord and tenant of a dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling only:
a. If the agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration;
b. If the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.
4. The landlord shall not treat performance of the separate agreement described in subsection 3 as a condition to an obligation or performance of a rental agreement.
A landlord, from time to time, may adopt rules, however described, concerning the tenant's use and occupancy of the premises. A rule is enforceable against the tenant only if it is written and if:
1. Its purpose is to promote the convenience, safety, or welfare of the tenants in the premises, preserve the landlord's property from abusive use, or make a fair distribution of services and facilities held out for the tenants generally.
2. It is reasonably related to the purpose for which it is adopted.
3. It applies to all tenants in the premises in a fair manner.
4. It is sufficiently explicit in its prohibition, direction, or limitation of the tenant's conduct to fairly inform the tenant of what the tenant must or must not do to comply.
5. It is not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord.
6. The tenant has notice of it at the time the tenant enters into the rental agreement.
A rule adopted after the tenant enters into the rental agreement is enforceable against the tenant if reasonable notice of its adoption is given to the tenant and it does not work a substantial modification of the rental agreement.
562A.21 Noncompliance by the landlord — in general.
1. Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with section 562A.15 materially affecting health and safety, the tenant may elect to commence an action under this section and shall deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than seven days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied in seven days, and the rental agreement shall terminate and the tenant shall surrender as provided in the notice subject to the following:
a. If the breach is remediable by repairs or the payment of damages or otherwise, and if the landlord adequately remedies the breach prior to the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate.
b. If substantially the same act or omission which constituted a prior noncompliance of which notice was given recurs within six months, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement upon at least seven days' written notice specifying the breach and the date of termination of the rental agreement unless the landlord has exercised due diligence and effort to remedy the breach which gave rise to the noncompliance.
c. The tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.
2. Except as provided in this chapter, the tenant may recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for any noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or section 562A.15 unless the landlord demonstrates affirmatively that the landlord has exercised due diligence and effort to remedy any noncompliance, and that any failure by the landlord to remedy any noncompliance was due to circumstances reasonably beyond the control of the landlord. If the landlord's noncompliance is willful the tenant may recover reasonable attorney's fees.
3. The remedy provided in subsection 2 is in addition to any right of the tenant arising under subsection 1.
4. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and security recoverable by the tenant under section 562A.12.
95 Acts, ch 125, § 4, 5
562A.23 Wrongful failure to supply heat, water, hot water or essential services.
1. If contrary to the rental agreement or section 562A.15 the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to supply running water, hot water, or heat, or essential services, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may:
a. Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat and essential services during the period of the landlord's noncompliance and deduct their actual and reasonable cost from the rent;
b. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or
c. Recover any rent already paid for the period of the landlord's noncompliance which shall be reimbursed on a pro rata basis.
2. If the tenant proceeds under this section, the tenant may not proceed under section 562A.21 as to that breach.
3. The rights under this section do not arise until the tenant has given notice to the landlord or if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, or other person on the premises with the consent of the tenant.
562A.26 Tenant's remedies for landlord's unlawful ouster, exclusion, or diminution of service.
If the landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of electric, gas, water or other essential service to the tenant, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover the actual damages sustained by the tenant and reasonable attorney's fees. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and security.
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10/25/2007 - Category: Landlord Tenant - State: IA #10924
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