Paid Utilities: When Your Landlord Doesn’t Pay Them

Share:

Paid Utilities: When Your Landlord Doesn’t Pay Them

Staff Writer · Nov 24, 2010

Finding an apartment with paid utilities is a convenient option for many tenants. You may have poor credit that results in companies charging you large deposits prior to connecting utilities. If your landlord will pay for them as part of your rent payment, then you don’t have to worry about that. You also don’t have the hassle of disconnecting the utilities when you move out. If all goes well, then it’s a relief for you as the tenant to have your landlord deal with the utility company. Sometimes it doesn’t go well, and your landlord may refuse or neglect to pay them.

Agreement for Paid Utilities

There doesn’t have to be a written agreement between you and your landlord in order for him to pay utilities. An oral agreement can be more difficult to prove, but there are ways to show that payments were made on your behalf. If your landlord doesn’t pay them, you’ll have to gather proof of his responsibility to pay if you want to pursue a court action.

Written Notice to Landlord

Even if you have an oral agreement with your landlord, you need to send him a written notice that the utilities weren’t paid. It could be a simple issue of oversight and the notice is all that’s needed for your landlord to make the payment. On the other hand, it could be a means of self help, where the landlord is trying to evict you by shutting off your utilities. That’s illegal in most jurisdictions, and your notice should spell out your landlord’s responsibility to pay utilities and your intent to pursue legal action if they are not paid.

Pay the Utilities Yourself

You need some utilities on while you await the outcome of any legal action that you want to pursue. For example, if the landlord doesn’t pay for heat in the middle of winter, it’s probably going to be in your best interest to pay the bill while you file a lawsuit. You may be able to legally deduct the amount from your rent, but the laws vary and you have to check the ones in your area. If you can’t deduct money from the rent, then you’ll have to wait until the court awards damages to be reimbursed.

Vacate the Apartment

If your best option is to move out, then you may be able to do so under your state laws. For example, you may be able to move out within 30 days if the utilities are not paid by the landlord after three days. You may have other options for terminating your lease agreement and vacating the apartment when the landlord violates the provisions that pertain to paid utilities. Contact a local attorney or legal aid to find out your rights to vacate. You don’t want to make a mistake with this option and end up owing the landlord damages.

Get the help you need before seeking legal remedies against your landlord for breaching paid utilities clauses in your lease agreement. You don’t want to find yourself liable for damages because you took the wrong actions.

You might also like:

On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and or living in the communities. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight apartment communities whose […]

Jessica Lee

 · Apr 3, 2024

Moving into a new apartment or rental property can be both exciting and stressful. From packing up your belongings to coordinating logistics, there’s a lot to manage. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is what to expect on move-in day regarding the condition of your new unit. Surprisingly, according to recent surveys, a significant […]

Jessica Lee

 · Mar 12, 2024

On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and or living in the communities. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight apartment communities whose […]

Jessica Lee

 · Feb 28, 2024