Where can residents get help if they suspect they are being overcharged on utility bills?
Most parks are “master-meter” operators that own, operate and maintain the electric, gas and water distribution system within the park and bill their residents with the monthly rent statement. Under the state Public Utilities Code, master-meter customers (parks) shall charge no more than the local serving utility would charge a resident, including passing through any low-income rebates or discounts, such as “CARE.” Residents can call County Weights and Measures (W&M) to have them check the accuracy of their meters and assure they have been correctly calibrated. Some W&M offices are willing to look into billing complaints, such as failure to provide proper billings or post rates, but most only check the accuracy of the meters. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is required to take informal complaints (800-649-7570) from residents in master-meter parks. The CPUC often refers these complaints to the serving utility to work out with the park management. If a third party billing agent prepares the utility billings for the park, the management shall disclose the contact information of the billing agent on residents’ billings. (Civil Code §798.40(b))
Can the park start billing residents for utilities that were previously included in the rent?
If the residents’ rental agreement provides that sewer, water and garbage are included in the rent, the park management may elect to itemize or charge separately for these utilities. (Civil Code §798.41) In this case, the average monthly amount of the utility charges shall be deducted from the rent. If the rental agreement does not specifically indicate that utility charges are included in the rent, then the park owner could charge for them after complying with the 60-day written notice requirement. (Civil Code §798.32)
About 1/3 of the senior population lives at home alone and each year one in three of those seniors will experience a debilitating fall. There are many home improvements that can create a much safer, easily accessible home.
No one wants to have to leave their home because it has become too hard to get around or reach things. Even the healthiest seniors can struggle with things that they have never had to worry about before. Here are a few improvements that can keep your home from becoming a hindrance as you age.
- Falls usually happen while getting in or out of the bathtub. Installing handles and a non-skid latex mat inside and outside will reduce the chances.
- Elevated toilets help people that find it hard to squat, bend, sit or stand. It’s a good idea to have grab bars anchored to the wall and floor beside the toilet, too.
- Set the thermostat on the water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees to prevent burns.
- Store toiletries, first aid supplies and other bathroom necessities at waist level where they limit bending, stooping or stretching. (This is true for all rooms.)
- Consider a tub seat or walk-in shower unit.
- Raise the dishwasher so bending is not needed for loading and unloading.
- Use multi-level counter heights with open space beneath to allow for sitting.
- Replace higher cabinets with lower shelving or drawers. Often used items should be handy.
- Install a wall oven, lowered for comfortable use. Use a countertop range, lower the height for ease of use.
- Flat surfaces around the stove are easier to clean and allow sliding of heavy pots instead of lifting.
- Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever handles.
- No step threshold can decrease falls.
- Building walk-in closets with multiple heights allows easy reaching.
- Install rocker light switches that are easier to turn on and off compared to the old fashioned flip switch.
- Make sure there is ample room to maneuver easily between furniture and walls.
Remodels can be expensive but if you do a little at a time the cost of these updates are manageable AND will cost far less in the long run than an assisted living facility.
If you live in a Mobile, Modular or Manufactured home and do not have insurance up to the replacement value of your home, change your policy today. Like it or not your home is considered Real property not personal property, which is what a stick built home is considered. This means that the minute your home leaves the factory it was built in it begins to depreciate in value.
In the search for the cheapest insurance many people do not realize that they are cheating themselves out of the coverage they need, and inadvertently putting themselves at risk of becoming homeless should a disaster occur. If there was a fire, earthquake, mudslide or flood how much money would you get from your insurance company for the repairs? Does your insurance policy even cover these types of events? Call your provider today and make sure that 1. Your policy provides these protections 2. Your policy covers the replacement cost of your home.
When your policy covers the replacement cost of your home, it does not matter how old your current home is. Should disaster strike you could get a new home! Don’t risk having to live in a home torn apart by fire, flood, mudslide or earthquake. Cover your home for the full replacement value and add some security to your investment.