When it comes to rental properties, one of the most important expenses is the water bill. As a landlord, it is important to understand the consequences if a tenant does not pay the water bill in a timely manner. Not only can this lead to financial repercussions for the landlord, but it could also lead to legal action if the tenant does not pay. It is important for landlords to understand the laws and the potential repercussions of a tenant not paying the water bill. In this blog post, we will discuss what happens if a tenant does not pay the water bill and how landlords can protect themselves. We will look at the specific laws surrounding water bills, the repercussions of non-payment, and how landlords can protect their property and themselves. By understanding these laws and how to best protect yourself, you can ensure that your property and investments are protected.
Paying Off Unpaid Bills
Consider the case where a tenant left one of your properties. You released their security deposit before realizing they hadn’t paid all of their utilities, and it’s likely you won’t hear from them again.
Are you now liable for these past due costs and fees, and is a landlord responsible for the tenants’ utility bills?
Although it may seem like a simple question, there are a few different answers depending on the circumstances.
If the utilities are in your name…
Although you would know whether or not your tenant has paid, making this situation less likely, it is still worthwhile to review this information to determine your situation.
You will probably be held liable for the expense if the tenants paid you directly for the property’s utilities while they were renting it out to them.
The utility companies have your name, not those of your tenants, which is why this is the case. The utility company doesn’t care if your tenants were supposed to pay you but didn’t. You must pay the fees in the amount specified by the company.
You might want to think about taking the tenant to small claims court if they abandoned you and left behind significant debts that you had to pay in order to recover some of that money. There is really no other way for you to get this money back besides doing this. You will simply have to pay for it.
In this case, not paying won’t solve your problem. If you do stop paying and the utilities are shut off, you could cause damage to the building (frozen pipes, for example), and it won’t necessarily result in your tenant’s departure. Not paying the utility bills could also damage your credit score. And, if the bills remain unpaid, the city or even your utilities provider (if it is a subsidiary of the government) could put a lien on your property – never good for business.
If your tenants plan to continue living in your unit, then ideally you would collect these funds as an addition to what they pay in rent. However, if your tenants are on their way out and have outstanding dues from items like utilities that they never paid, you could also recover those funds from the security deposit. The laws around what landlords can withhold in the security deposit varies state by state, but generally that is an option, and you can bill your tenants separately for any amount that the security deposit does not cover.
Additionally, if the tenants are unaware that this is their responsibility, they might not anticipate additional fees to cover the time during which they should have changed the utilities to their own name. Follow-up letters informing the tenants of their obligations before moving in can be very helpful. Your tenants will feel supported and welcomed if you communicate with them in a warm, friendly, and helpful manner. It’s not necessary to be friends with your tenants—in fact, there are times when it’s best to avoid it—but if they like and respect you, they’ll treat your property with the same respect.
You’ll need to decide what to do if you let your tenants move in but they don’t change the utilities to their name. You have three options: stop paying the bills, stop providing service to the building, or keep paying the bills and add the fees to your tenant’s monthly rent. We recommend you keep the lights on.
While your lease agreement may specify in no uncertain terms that the utilities are the responsibility of the tenants while they live in the unit, state law may indicate that the property owner is ultimately responsible for outstanding dues on some types of utilities (whereas other utilities may ultimately be the responsibility of the tenant). And state law may prevent utility companies from discontinuing services for items like heat under certain weather circumstances.
Secret to Get Tenants to Pay Their Water Bill
Can you evict a tenant for not paying utilities Ontario?
An Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant or Collect Money (L2 Application) may be filed by a landlord who wants an order requiring a tenant to pay money for something other than unpaid rent, such as unpaid utilities, costs associated with significant interference, or damage to a rental unit or residential complex.
Are landlords responsible for unpaid utility bills Pennsylvania?
Utility Services Tenant Rights Act In Pennsylvania, tenants are safeguarded from having their rent arrears paid by their landlords. Tenant should not be required to pay the back bill to maintain services if landlord fails to pay the gas, electric, or water bills.
Do tenants pay water Act?
As long as they are separately metered, the tenant is responsible for consumption fees like water in the ACT.
Is it legal to charge tenants for water in California?
Renters have a right to reasonable utility costs. Landlords are required to charge tenants who pay for utilities directly the same amount.