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Old 09-03-2008, 07:39 PM
 
1,492 posts, read 4,221,275 times
Reputation: 1265
Such a blessing to have utilites in the LL name, saves your fico!

I'd send a letter or email stating that you are concerned that you have not received a bill and it has been over 30 days and that 'they' are aware you must budget accordingly as you cannot afford to double or even triple up a utility bill.

Just send that message and wait for a response.

If they do pop a 2/3/ or 4 month bill, I'd make the appropriate 2/3 or 4 equal payments. There isn't much the LL can do or even say...their fault they didn't give you notice.

Good luck!
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:16 PM
 
208 posts, read 369,297 times
Reputation: 114
I lived in a small 4-plex apartment building several years ago and the landlord kept the utilities in his name. He paid the utilities, then he gave the tenants a copy their bill. We reimbursed him. He told me he wanted to keep the utilities in his name so that the utilities would always be paid on time. Supposedly one of this past tenants skipped town and racked up a large bill when he first started landlording. He had to pay the reconnection fees when the electric was shut off even though it was in the tenant's name. (He had to do extensive remodeling after she left and he needed the electric turned back on.) That's when he started to keep the utilities in his name.

If the tenant didn't reimburse him within the time frame, he took it out of their deposit. (This was stated in the lease agreement.) Also he started off with a month-to-month lease and treated it as a trail period for 6 months. So if didn't pay your utility bill or if you were not a good tenant during the trail period, he would give you a 30-day notice to leave. But if you were a good tenant, he offered you a lease after the trail period was up.

But in the OP's case, this landlord sounds kind of shady. I like VegasGrace's advice above!
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,213 posts, read 10,773,821 times
Reputation: 4702
If the utilities are in the tenants name, there is no way the LL can be held responsible for the debt. I had a tenant skip and leave the state. I saw it coming so I contacted the utilities and they told me not to worry, they would follow the guy anywhere to get their money, and it was definately not the owners responsibility. They have their ways to get a deadbeat.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:21 AM
 
2,386 posts, read 2,068,087 times
Reputation: 1853
Quote:
Originally Posted by tea39 View Post
Hi- Our landlord refuses to allow us to put utilities in our name- even though it is our responsibility to pay. We have now lived here for 3 months and she still hasn't given us abill. I spoke w her yesterday and she says she is having problems w utility company and she has to meet them at the premises because they don't understand why utilities have increased so much in past months. I guess she is not telling them tenants are living in the home. We have asked her time and time again if we could just put in our name- so we know what we are spending, the dates they are coming and so we can get credit for paying the bills. Also- she is going to give is a bill for 4-5 months of use at once. Anyone know why she is so adamant in keeping utilities in her name???? She thinks she can just pop by whenever she pleases- becuase it is "her" house- although she cashes our rent check pretty damn quick. We also do not have a functioning toilet at the moment. She told us last week that plumbers are awa? unavailable until this upcoming week. What a crock. But what were we to do? help
My guess would be that she is paying the bills and will get a tax write-off of some kind for the expense. You are then reimbursing her for those payments. It's really a win-win situation for your landlord.
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:08 PM
 
11,151 posts, read 8,921,563 times
Reputation: 18522
Do you have your own electric meter, or are you perhaps sharing power with another tenant?

Regardless, you need to either have the utilities put in your own name, or receive copies of the actual bill. It definitely sounds as though the landlord is trying to pull off something "shady" .....
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,668 posts, read 5,124,099 times
Reputation: 1468
Here's the deal. You're paying your landlord's electric too. Ask to see the two bills separately. She just added her bill to yours. This is illegal. It is public record. Check to see how many electric bills are being recorded from that property. I'll bet, just one. Yours. This is theft of services on landlord's part. Refuse future payment until she proves you haven't been paying her electric too. If she refuses, which she will, advise her you'll be taking legal action for robbing you.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:21 PM
 
28 posts, read 102,321 times
Reputation: 22
Thanks everyone for the advice. ESFP- we live in a single family home. She does live in the same town- so would she be able to add her utility bill to ours? I was thinking she is getting some sort of tax write off or something. Anyway- I haven't said anything yet- wanted her to fix our toilets first. Now on to utilities. I have requested copy of bills- so far she has ignored my request. Next step- telling her we arent going to pay unless utilities in our name. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,668 posts, read 5,124,099 times
Reputation: 1468
Hmmm. Can't imagine why she wants to keep her name on the bill. I can see no advantage. You may ask the electric company how you can get credit for being a good customer. Could you get the bill in both names, like roommates do? Payment history will help reduce (or eliminate) the need for a deposit in your next house. You have a valid concern. Check this out... I had an apartment, built in 1920s, purchased fully occupied. When the 2nd floor vacated, I turned off the electric. The streetlights went out. I turned it on, and they came on again. Oops!
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,107 posts, read 9,261,151 times
Reputation: 4411
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donn2390 View Post
If the utilities are in the tenants name, there is no way the LL can be held responsible for the debt. I had a tenant skip and leave the state. I saw it coming so I contacted the utilities and they told me not to worry, they would follow the guy anywhere to get their money, and it was definately not the owners responsibility. They have their ways to get a deadbeat.

Not True! In my area, Owners are held ultimately responsible for Sewer/Water/Trash bills from several utility companies. City of Garden City and City of Meridian (Both in the Boise area) both do this. We've had to pay utilities for tenants before several times to keep the service from being shut off on the NEXT tenant. One time, it was 4 months after the tenant had moved out, long after we had refunded their deposit, because we didn't know they were outstanding.

Also, in the City of Meridian, for Sewer/Water/Trash, for about a year, they would not allow service to be put in a tenants name. We had to pay the bill, and then bill the tenants back. It was a pain in the fanny. They now allow service to be transferred, but require a notorized request each and every time it changes names. Still a pain, but at least workable. While this was going on, we had it in our lease that the tenant agreed to reimburse us for these bills. They agreed to it in writing, and it wasn't an issue. However, we gave copies of all bills, I would never expect to be reimbursed for a bill without providing a copy of said bill. AND if a late fee was ever charged, that is not the tenants responsibility to reimburse either.

Anyway, it might not be the landlord who is causing this to occur. Call the utility company and see if they even allow service to change names without a purchase. If it is the utility company who is not allowing it, then you should pay the bills, assuming you get copies.

If there is an issue coming up with the money for 3 months at a time (you should be saving it, its the same money whether you pay it all at once or spread out, especially since you aren't paying it up front, but rather in arrears), then ask for a monthly average and send that much each month, then when she sends the bill, you can just make a small adjustment on the current bill if you are over or under.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,213 posts, read 10,773,821 times
Reputation: 4702
[quote=Lacerta;5222185]Not True! In my area, Owners are held ultimately responsible for Sewer/Water/Trash bills from several utility companies. City of Garden City and City of Meridian (Both in the Boise area) both do this.QUOTE]

It must depend on the utilitiy company in question. My properties are in Oregon and California, and neither state holds the LL responsible for renter debts...
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