Can I Get Rent Compensation for Paid Utilities That I Cover for My Landlord?

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Can I Get Rent Compensation for Paid Utilities That I Cover for My Landlord?

Staff Writer · Nov 12, 2010

If you have paid utilities that were technically and legally the responsibility of your landlord, you may be entitled to receive compensation or credit for that expenditure on your monthly rent. To obtain such compensation, however, you must prove to your landlord that you made the payments because of his failure.

Obtaining Rent Credit: Who and How

The only individual that can grant you a credit on your rent is the one with whom you entered into a rental contract. If this other party is the landlord, you will need the landlord’s approval. This party can permit you to reduce the amount of your rent by the exact amount of your expenditures if you prove that you made the payments because you were at risk of your utilities being shut off. This means that the lease agreement must clearly state that it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay the utilities in question. A lease agreement that is silent on the issue is usually construed to mean that it is the tenant’s obligation to pay for all utilities.

Beware: Violations of Your Lease Agreement

You cannot grant yourself the credit on your rent without prior approval. Not paying the amount of rent as stated in your rental contract is considered a breach of contract. A proper rent credit can only be used after obtaining approval from the individual with authority to grant the credit.

Last Resort

If you are denied your request for rent credit, your option is to take your landlord or the other party to court. Stopping paying rent is viewed as a breach of contract and could result in your eviction.

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