Can a landlord sue for unpaid utility bill?

By Tenant

Once a tenant signed a lease agreement that states that he is the one responsible to pay for the utility bills and not the landlord then he is the one responsible to pay for it and the landlord may feel safe from the utility companies for collections if ever the tenant will not pay.  With this lease it will be clear to both parties who pay the utilities debt and if there is a need to file a lawsuit.

Here are some of the reasons why landlords can sue their tenants for unpaid utility bills.

  • Lease Agreement.  If the lease agreement signed between two parties states that the responsibility of paying the utility bills falls on the hands of the tenant then the tenant must pay. Utility bills include water, electricity, trash collection, sewer and gas.  The name on the utility bill is then changed from the landlord to the tenant’s name on a certain date at the time the lease was signed.
  • Three Day Notice Given. The landlord can give a 3 day notice to his tenant if he failed to pay his monthly utility bill; that is if the utility bills are being shared by the tenant and the landlord. The 3 day notice can either be for the tenant to pay his shared utility bill or leave the rental property depending on what was agreed upon on the lease agreement.
  • Security Deposit. Security deposit cannot be used to pay unpaid utility bills of the tenant. Its main purpose is to compensate the landlord for any unpaid rent, cleaning the property and repairs of any damages made to the house and house fixtures made by the tenant.

The landlord can start making legal actions once the tenant cannot make any payment. That means he can collect any unpaid rent and utilities. He can also cost the tenant for damages that go beyond the security deposit.


Edited on: Thursday, March 14th, 2013 10:39 pm

15 Responses to “Can a landlord sue for unpaid utility bill?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


March 14th, 2013 10:40 pm

Can the utility company cut off their services if there are unpaid bills?


March 15th, 2013 12:00 pm

What will happen if the tenant runs off without paying their utilities?


March 16th, 2013 1:20 am

Will the utility company sue the tenant for not paying?


March 16th, 2013 2:20 pm

Who is responsible to pay the utility company if the utilities were cut off?


March 17th, 2013 3:40 am

Is there any way or payment plan if the tenant cannot pay the bill?


March 17th, 2013 5:00 pm

How can I know if I am paying the right amount if I am sharing the utility with other tenants?


March 18th, 2013 6:20 am

Can I ask my landlord for a sub-meter?


March 18th, 2013 7:40 pm

Any lawsuit filed against me as a tenant will show on my credit?


March 19th, 2013 9:00 am

I hate to have unpaid bills on my name.


March 19th, 2013 10:20 pm

Can my landlord disconnect my utilities if I cannot pay the bills?


March 20th, 2013 11:40 am

What happens to a property when placed on lien?


March 21st, 2013 1:00 am

Is there a law that says the one responsible to pay unpaid bills is the landlord?


March 21st, 2013 2:00 pm

Is it illegal for a landlord to cut off utilities without notice?


March 22nd, 2013 3:00 am

Can a landlord even do this?


March 22nd, 2013 4:20 pm

If I was evicted due to unpaid bill


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