Johnston, RI asked in Landlord - Tenant for Massachusetts

Q: I have a commercial lease in Massachusetts and the landlord just installed water meters and started charging us

IS he allowed to do that mid lease? this is the paragraph in our lease UTILITIES AND SERVICES. Commencing on the Commencement Date, Tenant shall pay when due all costs, charges, deposits and assessments related to the hook-up, furnishing, consumption, maintenance and installations of water, water pressure, gas, electricity, fuel, light, heat, power, telephone, sanitary and storm sewer, and any other utilities or services (collectively, “Utilities”) attributable to or servicing the Premises, whether located in or outside the Premises. Tenant shall make all appropriate applications to the local utility companies as shall be necessary to insure utilities being available at the Premises no later than as of the Date, and have all Utilities put in Tenant’s name as of the Commencement Date. Tenant shall pay all required deposits, connection and tap-in fees and/or charges for services and meters within the applicable time period set by the local utility company.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Phil A. Taylor
Phil A. Taylor
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Stoneham, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Generally, as lease should be reviewed in its entirety as one section may be impacted by another section. Based on the limited text provided, it appears that the LL has taken the steps to have a commercial tenant contractually obligated to be responsible for the water to the leased space. Having a tenant pay utilities is not uncommon and with the availability of sub-metering, more and more LLs are passing on the cost of water. In addition to the lease, any statute or regulation concerning the issue needs to be reviewed. You should consider hiring a lawyer to review the entire lease, facts and issue here.

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