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  1. #1
    Seanscott is offline Member
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    Tenants won't put utilities in their name

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Indiana

    I have new tenants that have not put the utilities in their own name as agreed to in the signed lease. I went to the city building and was told that my new tenants owe past due amounts on previous dwellings.

    The utilities are still in my name and are due on the 20th, with disconnections to be done on the 31st.

    Here's my question - Am I allowed to let the utilities go unpaid and get disconnected without getting into trouble? I am not shutting off the utilities, but am I liable if they do get disconnected? My thinking is that this will force the tenants to put the bill in their own name or do without.

    Thank you.
  2. #2
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanscott View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Indiana

    I have new tenants that have not put the utilities in their own name as agreed to in the signed lease. I went to the city building and was told that my new tenants owe past due amounts on previous dwellings.

    The utilities are still in my name and are due on the 20th, with disconnections to be done on the 31st.

    Here's my question - Am I allowed to let the utilities go unpaid and get disconnected without getting into trouble? I am not shutting off the utilities, but am I liable if they do get disconnected? My thinking is that this will force the tenants to put the bill in their own name or do without.

    Thank you.
    Look, if your lease says that they put the utilities in their name by the 31st then if they don't, they have no utilities, and you can evict them for breach of contract.

    I'm not sure why you would want to screw up your credit by not paying them and letting them get disconnected, why did you even have any on when they moved in?
  3. #3
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Sean unless these utilities are city owned public utilities ( like water sewer) there is no reason for you to pay them anymore. Water and sewer they can attach to taxes or condemn rentals with unpaid bills but if its a private electric company /co-op or private natural gas service have them final out the bills, ASAP and give them a copy of the lease and let them deal with it. UNLESS these are city -public utilities One town near me is that way , Mora public utility is the electric provider in that town so they are able to add unpaid electric bills to taxes just like unpaid water. Sean If these are not city owned utilities this tenant will find them self with out service very soon and they can scream , rant rave all they want about it let them , while your typing up formal notice that failing to maintain electric , gas services is a violation of the lease and they have x number of days to get them back on or you will have no choice but to ask the courts to evict them. If they are city owned utility make sure they are paid and send to tenant notice that they are in breach of the lease by refusing to establish services and again have the utilities final out the bills and make it clear to the utilitys they should post the door scheduling a disconnection if a acct is not started. Next time around I would suggest consulting with a atty quickly to see if you can put into the lease if that tenant has to have written verification for you that accounts have been opened for gas /electric for before getting keys to the unit.
  4. #4
    Seanscott is offline Member
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    Thank you both for your advice.

    There are two reasons for leaving the utilities on when the home was empty - it gets cold here and I wanted to make sure the pipes didn't freeze, and a disconnect/re-connect charge is more than the minimum bill.

    These are town owned utilities and they passed an ordinance last year that the landlord would be responsible for any unpaid utilities. If the landlord does not pay the bill, the town will place a lien on the property. The town has made themselves not responsible for collecting from deadbeat utility customers. The town will not take any final readings until the new tenant goes to town hall and signs up. As the landlord I cannot final out the bill and have the account switched to the new tenant.

    Would you suggest a three day "cure or quit" notice?

    Thanks again.
  5. #5
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanscott View Post
    Thank you both for your advice.

    There are two reasons for leaving the utilities on when the home was empty - it gets cold here and I wanted to make sure the pipes didn't freeze, and a disconnect/re-connect charge is more than the minimum bill.

    These are town owned utilities and they passed an ordinance last year that the landlord would be responsible for any unpaid utilities. If the landlord does not pay the bill, the town will place a lien on the property. The town has made themselves not responsible for collecting from deadbeat utility customers. The town will not take any final readings until the new tenant goes to town hall and signs up. As the landlord I cannot final out the bill and have the account switched to the new tenant.

    Would you suggest a three day "cure or quit" notice?

    Thanks again.
    Yes, that definitely would be appropriate.

    Just because this is happening in my own life I just want to say, I leased a house today, that has no power or water and i have to turn them on in my own name, the only thing included is the sewer, and like Mr Farmer said, that is probably because it is city owned and run, and not able to be turned off, or switched to my name, because its attached to the property taxes.

    The power company wont turn on the electric without a 200.00 deposit, and the water also requires 200.00 deposit. I have no idea when i am going to be able to turn those utilities on, because i spent all of my savings on the security and rent. i hope my LL doesn't notice that i have to go a month without water or lights. I wouldn't even think of demanding that my LL turn them on, until i can take over the bill.

    I hope these tenants don't turn out to be a pITA because it seems like they are already causing you a headache.

    good luck.
  6. #6
    GotSmart is offline Member
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    You should ahve discussed this with the LL, as many will pro rate the deposits to accommodate a new tenant. In this economy coming up with a grand or few is not easy for much of the population.

    My ex talked her LL into doing that. I was glad, because I was not coming up with any more money for her.

    I have heard of people with good credit getting the deposits billed in some cases.
  7. #7
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotSmart View Post
    You should ahve discussed this with the LL, as many will pro rate the deposits to accommodate a new tenant. In this economy coming up with a grand or few is not easy for much of the population.

    My ex talked her LL into doing that. I was glad, because I was not coming up with any more money for her.

    I have heard of people with good credit getting the deposits billed in some cases.

    lol, well my credit leaves much to be desired. i think the score is like 7. I'm actually lucky I got a home at all..

    Well, I certainly should have thought of the deposit deferral, but I have just moved from my home state, where I know I can just turn the lights and water on, no problem.. cable? no problem, furniture? no problem... here it appears EVERYTHING is a problem.. and I signed the lease, and gave all my money, thinking I had till the first bill to come up with the utility money.. lol, oh well, gotta start somewhere
  8. #8
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Sean I understand needing to have heat on in the winter when a unit is empty. BUT I would suggest you not only do a notice via confirmed mail for them to correct this or you will start eviction BUT to make sure you carry it out, and GET them out Then since its city owned utility rather than having them put the bill in there name next time around require a separate deposit for utility bills NOT just a higher damage deposit BUT a whole new one . very last thing here that is worth looking into if the city utility is natural gas too would be to see is If your city has any ords that bar you from having propane tank (500 gal) on site if there is none then convert your furnace and hot water and cooking and dryer to propane , why because then that part of the utility mess would solve tenant not having it in tenant name , If they wont pay the propane firm they wont get fuel, If you run into a very good deal on a oil furnace and tank thats another option since again If they wont pay for it they wont have the fuel. Do not just include the utilities, too much tenant waste that way.
  9. #9
    GotSmart is offline Member
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    Where I am, I pay as I go. Tomorrow I will read my meeter, go to the utility company and pay the bill. I cant wait until summer, when I can save $250 a month in heating costs. I am ready to move to CA where I can leave the windows open, and actually get clean air.
  10. #10
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotSmart View Post
    Where I am, I pay as I go. Tomorrow I will read my meeter, go to the utility company and pay the bill. I cant wait until summer, when I can save $250 a month in heating costs. I am ready to move to CA where I can leave the windows open, and actually get clean air.
    Ah, I don't think CA air is "clean" lol.


    I hope the electric company doesn't make me read the meeter (sp) I am totally unprepared for that. I just want to pay my bills and have a happy home. Tis the plan, slow at first, but I'm confident in my ability, to have bad credit, and be the BEST tenant.
  11. #11
    GotSmart is offline Member
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    I lived in N CA. Fresh ocean air!

    They can keep the LA smog.
  12. #12
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotSmart View Post
    I lived in N CA. Fresh ocean air!

    They can keep the LA smog.
    Ah yes CA is verry big.

    Good night Got Smart

    And Farmer J, Good evining to you, and Sean, to you too sir, good night.
  13. #13
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    BP meter reading is easy and it wouldnt hurt you to do it once in a while in case something goes wrong and spikes up useage. But moany utils now use remote readers anyway where no one actually reads the meter.
  14. #14
    GotSmart is offline Member
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    Things change slowly in the Ozarks.
  15. #15
    atomizer is offline Senior Member
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    I give the tenants the meter numbers and readings once they have signed their lease. They get their keys when they produce the receipts. No receipt = no keys.
    Give them a notice of default on their lease agreement and evict if they don't comply with your request.

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