Should I have to pay?

Not a “should I pay?”. I will be paying the bill if I have to, but I’d prefer not to have to…as the details below will show.

The story:
I live in an apartment. The cable wire to my internet leads from my modem out the door, up the wall (outside, next to my door) and then up over the roof. It’s been like that all the years I’ve lived here (three years, so far) and who knows how long before then.

Anyway, my apartment building have hired painters to paint the entire outside. Today they knocked on my door and said that they need the cable wire moved so that they can paint there. They need it moved from the front to the back. This is, apparently, a non-negotiable thing…because if it’s not moved in 2-3 days time, they will forcefully move it by yanking it out or cutting it (and yes, they told me this) and then, I will be without internet or phone (I get phone through the same company).

So I call Cox Communications and tell them the problem. I need a tech to come out and move the wires from the front to the back. As expected, this is not a problem they hear about regularly and the rep told me that the technician MAY need to do a complete re-wiring and reinstallment.

She then said a complete installment usually is sixty dollars.
Well, that just kind of bites. I mean, this is obviously no fault of my own and it’s not something I can really help. I’m being forced by my complex to move the wire or else they will do away with it…but on the other end, I would probably need to pay 60 dollars out of my own pocket to have it moved.

If I have to, I’ll pay…but do you think I should have to? I guess I’m making this topic mostly just to vent a little and hope for some sort of “Wow, that sucks, you really shouldn’t have to pay in that situation, but it sucks that you probably will.” type of replies…

…but if you fully think it’s fair that I’d be left with that bill, feel free to say that too. It might be, for all I know, it just doesn’t seem very fair when you’re the one in the position, I guess.

First step should be to tell the painters to call your landlord or your building manager, or call them yourself.

They are responsible for things outside your apartment and should arrange to have the cable moved. The painters (or in a pinch, you) will explain the situation and the management can decide how to solve it.

No, you misunderstand (or maybe I wasn’t clear enough), it was the APARTMENT MANAGEMENT themselves telling me I have to move it…so that won’t do a lot of good.

Ah, I see where it is in the OP now.

When I said this:

…I mean the management knocked on my door. Sorry about that, it made it sound like the painters did.

I would pour over your lease and see if there is anything at all that mentions you are responsible for such things. If not, and they cut your line, you could probably sue them in small claims court or the cable company could, since it may be considered their property depending on where they cut it and how they disturb it.

I’d call the cable company again and say, “My apartment management company NAME has alerted me that they are going to be cutting your cable line to my house unless you come out and disconnect it. I have no power over this. If they cut the line, I will no longer be able to use your services and will have to cancel.”

For what it’s worth, my father’s roofing company had to do this a number of times through the local power company, and he handled it himself on the customer’s behalf (he had a signed contract giving permission for power disconnect of course so it was all legal and everyone was in on it). He never said “well we’re going to just cut the lines to your house so we can do the roofing we need to do unless you disconnect it yourself.”

What a shitty thing your apartment is doing to you.

In short, NO you should NOT have to pay and it’s ridiculous that they are trying to make you feel like you should.

Gotcha. Yeah, I thought you meant the painters did.

Well, I would tell them that you called Cox cable, the fee to move the cable they need you to move is $60 and you’ll be deducting the fee from your next month’s rent, or they can write you a check, their choice.

Let them find where in your lease it indicates you would be responsible for it and if they find it, then pay.

How was the cable originally installed, and on whose initiative? Was it there when you moved in? Did the landlord pay for it, or did you, or did a prior tenant?

Ask your doofus landlords how easily they think they’ll rent a unit with no cable or phone hookup.

I am actually of a differing opinion on some of this. Half assed wiring like this has become all too common and the ISP’s should be taking responsibility. Part of the problem is many of the installs are done by subcontractors who get $x amount per install if it takes 5 minutes or 5 hours so they will pretty much never choose to do a good clean install or conceal wiring. Blend that with “free install offers” and people get downright hostile if an installer wants to charge for the additional wiring work above and beyond what the ISP is willing to pay for so you end up with crappy work like this. I have found a couple guys who happily do this kind of work for like $30/hour making it pretty reasonable even if it takes 3-4 hours to run wiring through walls and do properly terminated wall jacks.

But since it was like that when rented it, it’s not his job to pay for it. I agree fixing it is a good idea but the landlords should do it.

I have to agree with this. When Verizon sent notice they would be forcing me to convert to FIOS, the guy came out and said, “I’m just gonna cut this wire here”, and I said the hell you are. I ended up running the coax because I didn’t want him just to start cutting stuff. He also wanted to just drill straight in to the house and put everything in the dinning room, I told him it was to be run to the basement as it wouldn’t take any longer.

I can’t imagine in any case where a renter would have to pay to move wires around, at least ones that run in from the outside.

Yeah, it was already there when I moved in.

Oh, missed the part that it was that way before he moved in. Hmmm that uncorks a mess you would need an expert on residential rental law to sort out. I would imagine that the lease specifies what utilities and or the scope of repair services they provide and where the utility providers responsibilities end and apartment complex begins. I would bet they specifically do not cover such things.

I agree to notify them of the cost, ask for a check, and then if they don’t give you one, take it out of your rent. If they want to take you to court over it, you’ll have a pretty good case I’d say. Make sure you read your lease very carefully though.

Do you pay the cable bill ordinarily?

But what drewtwo99 says - read your lease. If it says you are responsible for your cable bill, I think you are SOL.


This is exactly what I would do. If they have a problem with it, the ball’s in their court.

Besides the comments about half-assed installations, which I agree with, it does seem like the painters could pull a little slack in the cable, paint around it, then allow it to be pulled back into position. If the removal and reinstallation are going to have that exact result, suggest it. If what’s really wanted is the fugly cable off the wall, that’s a different request and not an unreasonable one.

60 bucks is dirt cheap. I suspect that’s a fraction of the actual cost of rewiring your apartment. You probably shouldn’t have to pay - the shoddy wiring is the fault of the cable company - but they are charging a relatively low fee.

Pretty much, at least in CA, anything outside your apt is the landlords responsibility.

I disagree for those that say it has anything to do with who pays the bill. Most of us pay the electric bill, but all outside wiring is outside the renters control.

Yes, this seems more and more cut and dried. One principle here is that if you spend the money to fix the wiring of your apartment so that it works again, the landlord accrues the benefit since you cannot take the wiring improvements with you when you leave.

It occurs to me that it does depend heavily on the rental contract. Couldn’t a landlord say “purchasing the kitchen appliances and maintaining them is the responsibility of the renter”, and give you a half destroyed kitchen consisting of whatever appliances the last tenant didn’t take?

I’m baffled they would expect you to pay for that. Maybe if it were something you had installed – like you got dish TV or a security system put in, then I could see it. But I think most people would expect a reasonably modern apartment complex to have wiring for cable TV. And yeah, if it’s outside the apartment then it’s not your problem.