Who Is Legally Responsible for Utility Bills

Neither the new tenants nor the landlord are responsible for the outstanding debts of previous tenants. When new tenants move in, the utility accounts with each affected provider must be changed to the name of the new tenants, either by the tenants themselves or by the landlord (depending on the landlord`s preference). Homeowners, check your state`s law regarding a tenant`s unpaid utility bills. Water and garbage may be your responsibility, electricity being the responsibility of the tenant. You may have to pay the tenant and then sue. If you think a bill is too high or too low, you should first contact the utility company and state your reasons and attach any evidence you can provide. The reason is that your name is that of the utilities, not your tenants. Even if your tenants should pay you and haven`t, the utility won`t care. You must pay the fee as written by the company. If your property is rented to a tenant, the lease should clearly state who is responsible for payments (this may include actions such as changing the name on bills or receiving payments directly from tenants). Bailiffs are enforcement agents who, after a series of ignored warning letters, go to the debtor`s last known address in case of unpaid retirement debts.

Bailiffs give at least seven days` notice for their first visit and may take some of the tenant`s belongings with them if payment of bills is refused. Bailiffs may initiate attachment proceedings only after confirmation of the debtor`s domicile. If the debtor no longer lives at the address, the judicial officers can no longer take other measures. Dealing with utility bills can cause a lot of problems, whether you`re renting or owning your home. Read this quick guide to learn how to deal with the most common problems. As a landlord, it can be confusing and frustrating to understand what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for when it turns out that a tenant is irresponsible and refuses to pay. What you don`t have to do is panic. Since this is a fairly common situation, there is a simple protocol you can follow to know if you are responsible for these invoices or not. It all depends on your location, so keep that in mind when reading our guide to dealing with this tricky situation when there are unpaid utility bills from tenants.

Tenants must inform suppliers of move-in dates and meter readings. If tenants are responsible for utilities, they are responsible from the beginning of the lease until the end of the lease. Tenants are not responsible for past charges or arrears. If the property`s utilities are in your name and the tenants paid you directly for utilities, you will likely be held responsible for the costs. Landlords may also be responsible for utility payments if the relevant names on utility accounts have not changed after new tenants move in. Since landlords are responsible for paying utility bills during periods of vacancy, the name of the previous tenant should be changed to the name of the landlord until a new tenant moves in. Landlords should change the relevant utility information immediately after the new tenant moves in to avoid being sued for payments they don`t owe. Even if your tenant left without paying their utility bills or without paying you the final amount they were supposed to pay you, you can`t deduct that amount from their security deposit in most states.

The basic fact is that the person whose name appears on the contract with the utility is responsible for ensuring that the bill is paid. If someone else has signed an agreement to pay a portion of this money to the contracting person, any dispute regarding that payment must be settled in Small Claims Court. 3. The utility may pay the debt under the government`s debt settlement program (in accordance with G.S. Section 105A) for recovery on the debtor`s income tax return or on any state lottery winnings. The amount owing must exceed $50 to be eligible for debt settlement, and the utility must meet detailed legal procedural requirements to participate in the program. Anyone who puts their name on a utility bill is ultimately responsible for all outstanding charges. Multiple names on an invoice transfer responsibility for all names on the invoice if payment is not met. It doesn`t matter if one pays their share, while another doesn`t.

Thus, if tenant A is the contracting party, the utility`s only recourse is against tenant A, unless one of the exceptions is made (see below). He cannot act against the owner of the property, another person currently residing in the building or a future tenant. If the owner is the contractor, the utility`s only legal recourse is against the owner. It cannot take action against a current or future tenant. With the immense paperwork that comes with new leases, it can be difficult to keep track of additional bill payments. Utility bills are usually the responsibility of tenants, but if paperwork is handled incorrectly during a lease change, landlords may need to contact suppliers to waive any obligation to pay. If responsibility for the electricity bill is properly managed by an appropriate lease clause, tenants are responsible for paying utilities for the duration of their lease. However, unpaid bills can become a point of contention, which can lead to visits by law enforcement in difficult circumstances. 4. In very limited circumstances, summarized in a previous article, a municipal utility (only a city, county, or operated utility) may add the amount owed by the defaulting former customer to the electricity bill for services provided in a new property (and disconnect the services in the new property due to non-payment) if the former customer lives in the new property: who receives the Services. even if the previous client is not a “contractual partner” for services on the new property. See G.S.

160A-314; G.S. 153A-277. If you enter into a new lease with a landlord, you will likely need to transfer joint utilities such as water and gas, so you are designated as the primary point of contact and the person responsible for paying utility bills.