|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Representatives Keenan of St. Albans City, Trombley of Grand Isle, Acinapura of Brandon, Head of S. Burlington and Moran of Wardsboro
Subject: Commerce and trade; residential rental agreements
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to clarify the obligations of a landlord and a tenant with regard to payment for gas and electric service to areas outside the tenant's dwelling unit.
AN ACT RELATING TO PROVISION OF GAS AND ELECTRIC SERVICE OUTSIDE DWELLING UNITS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 9 V.S.A. § 4457a is added to read:
§ 4457a. GAS AND ELECTRIC SERVICE OUTSIDE DWELLING UNIT
(a) The landlord shall provide the gas and electricity used in each dwelling unit unless the gas or electricity is metered through a meter which serves only the dwelling unit or other area under the exclusive use of the tenant of that dwelling unit. Notwithstanding this subsection, if the tenant of a dwelling unit is responsible for paying for the gas or electric service to such dwelling unit, the tenant may be responsible for electric service for common area electrical illumination outside the unit, provided that the landlord contracts with the tenant, mutually agreed to in a separate writing from the rental agreement, and supported by additional consideration, for payment for the electric service provided through the tenant’s meter to serve common area electrical illumination outside the tenant’s dwelling unit.
(b) If the landlord is not required to pay for the gas or electricity used in a dwelling unit, the landlord shall install and maintain wiring and piping so that any such gas or electricity used in the dwelling unit is metered through meters which serve only such dwelling unit, except as allowed under subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The landlord shall provide a licensed plumber, licensed electrician, or licensed gas technician access for the purpose of performing an inspection pursuant to this section.
(d) Upon submission to the utility company of a sworn affidavit by a licensed plumber, licensed electrician, or licensed gas technician attesting that a tenant’s gas or electric meter measures service in excess of common area electrical illumination to an area outside the tenant’s dwelling unit or if the utility makes such determination, the utility company shall:
(1) transfer the account of the tenant into the name of the landlord;
(2) within 30 days of receipt of the affidavit, provide notice to the landlord and the tenant that the account has been transferred from the tenant to the landlord;
(3) upon receipt of an affidavit from a licensed plumber, licensed electrician, or a licensed gas technician that the gas or electric meter only measures service to the tenant’s dwelling unit or if the utility makes such determination, the utility company shall transfer the account back into the tenant’s name.
(e) If a licensed electrician, licensed plumber, or licensed gas technician determines that the tenant’s meter is measuring gas service or electricity service in excess of common area electrical illumination to an area outside the tenant’s dwelling unit, the tenant shall be entitled to deduct any amount paid to obtain such determination from the tenant’s rent.
(f) A person aggrieved by the actions of the utility company pursuant to this section may appeal within 15 days of the date of the notice to the public service board.
(g) Nothing in this section limits any remedies available to a landlord or tenant under other provisions of this chapter, the rental agreement, or applicable statutory or common law.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street