Landlords, Are You in Violation of the New York Shared Meter Law?
What is a shared meter condition? It is when the utility meter that measures gas and electric or steam provided to a tenant also includes common areas that are the responsibility of the owner but are being billed on the tenant’s meter. This is in contravention of the current New York Shared Meter Law. Shared meter conditions can arise accidentally or intentionally. Either way, they are not permissible. The shared meter condition must be eliminated, or the meter must be placed in the name of the owner/landlord and the owner will remain responsible for all charges. This law cannot be waived by the tenant, owner, or utility company. Shared meter conditions are contrary to public policy.
Owners are charged with resolving this issue and if it remains unresolved, the owner will be billed going forward as opposed to the tenant and, in addition, will be billed a one-time charge equivalent to 12 months of usage on the shared meter The financial cost can add up.
There are however three circumstances when the owner does not have to correct the shared meter condition: (1) a legal impediment that prevents the owner from correcting the condition; (2) extraordinary cost; or (3) minimal use. The owner can enter into an agreement with the tenant for apportionment of the shared meter charges if appropriate.
Owners should be mindful of the Shared Meter Law in New York. Even if the condition was created inadvertently, owners are liable and may suffer great financial hardship. We can be reached at 516-570-4016 to assist you with your legal needs.