Who's Responsible the Tenant or the Manager?
During October 2009, Marilyn and her two daughters have been living in a apartment complex with six units. The section they lived in has two bedrooms and a full bath in each apartment. Each tenant has the availability of a stall for storage located in the basement of the building. Each stall has a washer and dryer hookup and ceiling light. Marilyn and her two daughters never used their stall. They did not even know which stall was theirs in the first place. They did not find out which stall was theirs until they received a extremely high electric bill.
Marilyn decided to do some investigating after receiving her electric bill. She first called the electric company to make sure she was being billed correctly. The next thing Marilyn did was pull up all her receipts from the time she moved in to the present. While she was going over her receipts, the power in her kitchen and living room went off. So Marilyn's oldest daughter, Nancy went down to the basement to check the fuse box. While Nancy was downstairs, she looked at the stall which has the same apartment number as their apartment. There were boxes, clothes, toys, bikes and even a washer and a dryer hooked up for use.
After Nancy turned the power back on, she ran back upstairs to tell her mother what she saw. Nancy told Marilyn, she knows why our electric is high, someone has been using our stall for their storage and washer and dryer hookup. Nancy said that is why whenever we would come in the back way, whoever was in the basement would always slam the door shut to keep people from seeing inside. Marilyn went downstairs herself and saw the exact same thing and decided to call the manager. The manager told Marilyn, he was on his way over to see what the problem was. When the manager got there, Marilyn explained how the power went out and about the high electric bill. The manager told Marilyn that the stall's electric is connected to each apartment with the same number; and whoever has that apartment will be charged with the bill.
Marilyn was flubbergasted. Marilyn told the manager that she was not using the stall neither does any of the items belong to her. The manager said he would find out which tenant have been using the stall, and make them remove the items right away. But the manager said he could not do anything about the tenant using her electric. As both the manager and Marilyn stood examining the stall and its contents; Marilyn notice that not only has the tenant made use of her stall, but the tenant has also taken up occupancy of someone else's stall. This stall is right next to Marilyn' stall.
So Marilyn waited and waited, she checked and rechecked the stall to see if the tenant had moved out. No action was taken until a week later. Marilyn called the electric company to see if they could do something about the electric bill. The electric company said no, she would have to talk to the manager of her building. Marilyn called the manager again, and asked how can she get reimburse for the use of her electric. The manager said it was her problem, because she should have put a lock on her stall when she moved in. Marilyn said she did not need stall,and if the manager did his inspection and knew the tenant was using the stall; why didn't he have the tenant move. Why didn't the manager tell her about the tenant? Now that the manager knows this tenant is using two stalls that are not assigned to their apartment; did the manager tell the other tenants about it?
What can Marilyn do about this? First of all Marilyn did point it out to the manager. The manager did tell the tenant to move out, even though it was a week later. The next thing Marilyn should have done is take pictures of the items, washer and dryer that was in her stall. Marilyn should also gather up those electric bill, and make a note of when the electric bill increased. After that Marilyn needs to go to the courthouse and file a small claim against the tenant.
You have to wonder how many of the tenants living in this complex are using other tenants utilities. And did manager already know about this? Aren't managers suppose to do annual inspection of the building as well as the apartments?
What would you do, if you were in this situation call the "Judge What's his or her name"?