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Old 08-02-2010, 07:41 PM
 
37 posts, read 90,058 times
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Default what will happen if tenant has unpaid utility bill under their name?

will landlord be responsible for that if a tenant moved out?

and can landlord disconnect the service of the property so the next tenant have to take it over?
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,340 posts, read 9,474,433 times
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The utility company should be notified that XXX is the owner/LL. The tenant is responsible for the bill. If the tenant moves out, the utility needs to be notified by the tenant. The LL cannot turn off the service.
If the tenant skipped on the bill, it is still the tenants responsibility. The LL can let the utility know that the tenant has moved. It is the utility's responsibility to persue the charges. The utility will turn the utility into the new tenant's name on request from the new tenant.
The only responsibility the LL would have is if the unit is vacant, the LL can turn the utility into his/her name while vacant. When rented, call the utility and have it turned off the LL's name.
The utility will end the billing to the LL. My utility will give the new tenant 8 to 10 days to get it into thier name before cutting off service.

This has been my experience with my local utility. Gas and electric. Yours should not be much different.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:24 AM
 
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A LL can move the utilities in their name when a tenant officially has moved out or abandoned the property, otherwise you can't do anything.

The utility company probable won't do anything unless the sec. deposit for the utilities is running out....

I had it twice and the utility company ones called me over and over to get the utilities in my name while the tenants were still living at my property. Since they were paying rent and at that point not damaging anything, I didn't do anything. Why would I start paying for their utilities which is clearly stated in my contracts, has to be in the tenants name.

Tha utility company is not allowed in FL to cut the tenants off during the Summer (maybe not during any other period either...)...so they were the one who had to go after their money.

The trash company stopped picking up but I never saw any trash near the property so they probable dumped it else where...
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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It actually depends on the utility company. In my area, for all privately owned utility companies, the final responsibility for the bill lies with the tenant. BUT on all city utilities (usually sewer and trash and sometimes water), the utimate responsibility lies with the owner, and if the tenant doesn't pay the bill, the property can be liened.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:17 PM
 
15,067 posts, read 18,966,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacerta View Post
It actually depends on the utility company. In my area, for all privately owned utility companies, the final responsibility for the bill lies with the tenant. BUT on all city utilities (usually sewer and trash and sometimes water), the utimate responsibility lies with the owner, and if the tenant doesn't pay the bill, the property can be liened.
I don't know in your State, but not in Florida!

Why should the utility company have any right to lien my property if the tenant fails to pay the utilities when they are in the tenants name?

That is the biggest BS I've heard lately...sorry at least in Florida and I assume elsewhere also.

If a tenant fails to pay the utilities than he probable isn't the best tenant and a LL should not renew the lease. On top of that are the utility companies charging a deposit which will be kept and they will go after the tenant for the remainder.

As I wrote before in my case the utility company called me to ask if I would put the utilities back in my name while the tenant was living there...I said no way and there was nothing that they could do.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentlebee View Post
I don't know in your State, but not in Florida!

Why should the utility company have any right to lien my property if the tenant fails to pay the utilities when they are in the tenants name?

That is the biggest BS I've heard lately...sorry at least in Florida and I assume elsewhere also.

If a tenant fails to pay the utilities than he probable isn't the best tenant and a LL should not renew the lease. On top of that are the utility companies charging a deposit which will be kept and they will go after the tenant for the remainder.

As I wrote before in my case the utility company called me to ask if I would put the utilities back in my name while the tenant was living there...I said no way and there was nothing that they could do.
If you would like to call City of Garden City of City of Meridian billing department, you are welcome to ask them. I am 150% certain of this. We have, multiple times, had notices come to us that a tenant is late in paying their bill, and if it is not paid by xx date, it will be placed against the property as a lien. They send notice to the owner as well as the tenant so that the owner has an opportunity to pay it themselves rather than be liened.

Both of these utility companies have a form that the owner has to sign and have notarized EVERY SINGLE TIME a tenant moves in, stating that they understand how this works, and authorize the tenant to put services in their name.

Here is the link to the form for City of Meridian, you can read for yourself. http://www.meridiancity.org/uploadedFiles/Services/Utility_Billing/Forms_and_Other_Info/BILLING%20DIRECTIVE%20FORM(3).pdf?n=4595 (broken link) Read the part in all caps at the bottom of page 1, as well as the paragraph on page 2 that says "I further agree that any and all amounts due for water, sewer and sanitation services shall constitute a lien on the real property which will secure the amounts due. Termination of service to the property will not release any lien for amounts due."

Edit* Here is the one for Garden City. It is a little more vague, but does say that bills are the owner's responsibility. http://www.gardencityidaho.govoffice.com/vertical/Sites/%7BA16794C5-94AE-4C54-B8E9-ADC537012C3F%7D/uploads/%7BA4051BE6-9265-4245-AB98-BD9DDE365549%7D.PDF (broken link) #s 3 and 4 talk about this. We have actually had Garden City place a lien against a property we manage before (they sent a notice to the owner, and the owner ignored it, so we didn't even know it was happening until after the fact)

I'm not saying this is the norm, I'm just saying that you can't guarantee that the owner has no responsibility without knowing anything about the utility company's policies. And please don't call what I say "BS", I don't appreciate it.

Last edited by Lacerta; 08-03-2010 at 04:13 PM.. Reason: Edited multiple times to add more info
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,111 posts, read 9,287,837 times
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To the OP, in most cases, the LL cannot have services disconnected on a tenant. However, a new tenant can have services put into their own name at any time. So you can't turn them off, and you can't put them into a 3rd party's name, but you can put them in your own name or a new tenant can put them in their own name.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:53 PM
 
13,137 posts, read 23,443,330 times
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Municipal Utilities can and do lien the property under the theory the service benefited the property...

Even unpaid bills from private companies, like Waste Management, will result in a property lien in one of my cities.

I've given up reporting utility thefts or tenant move-outs... Utility company will not speak to anyone about the account unless you are calling in to transfer service into your name or are the account holder.

When I first started managing properties... I would get several calls every year from the local water and power company looking for a forwarding address on a tenant that skipped... when the utility began to refuse discussing account issues with me as the property owner, I reciprocated by refusing to provide information on the tenant.... it has to be a two-way street.

The separation has become so extreme that I, as the owner was cited in a local city for having a hazardous stove because two pilots were turned off with the burners by the Utility Company at the tenants request to save energy during a energy audit.

I sent the Utility a certified letter with the city violation and told them to never turn off pilot lights on a stove I own in a home I rent... I had a supervisor call and explained he could not honor my request because I'm not the account holder

Short story is it all depends on what is permitted in the jurisdiction where the home is located... I will usually let the utility turn off service and then contact to put in my name for clean and show if there is any question...
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,213 posts, read 10,793,668 times
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I had a renter moving out of state, and owed me money, so I called the utility companies and asked them who would be responsible if the renter skipped out owing the utilities. I was informed I had no responsibly and they would chase the tenet to the end of the earth to collect.
I have read other responses in here that the LL is responsible, so I would have to believe it depends on the state it happens in.
Do as I did, call the utility companies in question, and ask them....!!
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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Here is my question i hope someone can help. My friends parents own a home which we have moved in to. We went to turn on the light and they told us we had to pay the LL bill that they owed before we could connect ours. Is that right?? How am i responsible for their bill before me?
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