Landlord Fails To Pay a Utility Bill

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What Happens If Your Landlord Fails to Pay a Utility Bill?

Generally, tenants are not subject to the termination or reduction in utility service when their landlord fails to pay a utility bill.  Many states have laws that prevent service from being terminated because a landlord failed to pay their utility bill.

What Laws Are There to Prevent Termination of Utilities?

In most states, if a landlord fails to provide a utility, they may be in violation of housing codes. Many states have provisions which provide tenants with remedies against a utility from being shut-off.  If your service is wrongfully terminated, you may be entitled to damages and attorney's fees. There are some states that have laws which will impose civil or criminal liability upon a landlord for failure to provide service to their tenants.

What if I Choose to Pay the Bill So Service Will Continue?

Some states allow tenants to pay overdue utility bills on the landlord's account and then deduct the amount of the payment from their rent to prevent a termination of service. Generally, if a tenant chooses to pay the landlord's utility bill, the tenant is only required to pay an amount necessary to maintain service. 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If your landlord has failed to pay the utilities as promised in your lease agreement, an attorney experienced in landlord tenant law can explain the laws of your area and suggest options available to you.

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Last Modified: 10-24-2013 03:30 PM PDT

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