Friday, April 1, 2011

How we handle rental property account responsibilities

When you rent, sometimes heat is included and electricity is not. Or maybe you pay for all utilities. Or maybe utilities are included in rent. Responsibility for energy bills in rental properties can be confusing, particularly during times when a property is not occupied or shifts from one tenant to another.

"For residential rental properties that have a meter for each unit, we bill renters directly unless the property owner or manager asks to receive the bills," says John Zaganczyk, our director of customer services. When residential rental properties have a single meter for more than one residential unit, Zaganczyk says the property owner or manager gets the bill.

In situations where a renter vacates a unit, any unpaid balance is transferred to the renter's new account with us -- provided the customer remains in our service area and gets a new account. If the customer does not get a new account, we issue a final bill to the customer. Property owners or managers are not responsible for accounts billed in tenant names.

When units with a dedicated meters are not rented, we attempt to contact the owner or manager to determine responsibility for service. During such times, the owner or manager can choose one of the following options for vacant units:

- The owner accepts responsibility for energy service between tenants.
- We Energies terminates service to unit, provided there is no danger to human health or life, or property damage.
- The owner provides the name of a responsible party, typically a new tenant.

Zaganczyk points out that rental property owners and managers also can set up owner agreements with us in advance to indicate how to handle service for the times between tenant occupancies. The options, similar to those listed above, are available on our website: http://www.we-energies.com/business/pro ... /index.htm

In some instances, a third party may request service. For example, a parent might request service for a son or daughter renting an apartment near a university. If the parent or third party does not already have an account, we may require an application for service via phone, letter or in person.

Anyone with questions about rental unit service and billing should call us at 800-242-9137 to learn more about our terms and conditions.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I was just wondering about this yesterday. Very informative and nice timing.