Total Cost of Occupancy (TCOO) is more than just rent
Low rent or security deposit should not be the only costs you consider.
In addition to rent you need to figure in;
Are you eligible for HEAP and HWAP?
Energy conservation for tenants
fees and charges
Pet fees vs. Pet deposits
transportation to work, school, shopping, services
5 questions to ask about utilities when you are renting.(see more on utility reselling here.)
1. Am I paying for my
actual usage or am I paying a percentage of the landlord's bill? You
need to ask-how is my bill being calculated. Sometimes tenants end up
paying for heating the swimming pool and running the computer in the
managers office. Even if there is a meter in your unit, there may be add on charges for common areas.
2. What rate am I
paying? Am I paying any service charges? You need to ask.
The utility reseller is buying energy at retail and then marking it up
to sell to you. There may also be fees to cover the cost of sending you
a bill. Very often utility resellers have punative late charges and
late charges ON UNPAID LATE CHARGES.
3. Who do I talk to if I
want to dispute a bill? Many tenants have run into the problem of being passed from the manager to the utility reseller and back to the manager. Remember
that, in Ohio, utilities reselling is UNREGULATED. Some tenants have
had success getting Better Business Bureau to help resolve disputes.
4. Can I be evicted for
not paying my utility bill? Sometimes utility resellers are
granted the right to bring an eviction action against you even if you
are current in your rent! Find out before you sign any agreements. At
least you'll know what you are in for.
5. Is the utility contract part of
my rental agreement...or a side deal?
Look at your lease. If the lease doesn't spell out the terms for
utility payments, then ask for a copy of the utility agreement. Your
lease may say you agree to pay for the utility when you don't know
what's in the agreement. RHINO has seen leases where there's nothing at
all about utilities and the manager, when asks says: "someone from the
utility company will be in touch with you..." Too late!! You are
1. understand the terms of utility plan BEFORE SIGNING THE LEASE. 2. Get a copy of the utility agreement 3. talk to your state representative and state senator about regulating utility reselling.