What happens if I don’t pay my utilities?


So I’ve been having all these problems with my landlord and I thought I would just stop paying the utility bill. I thought that such an action would finally force my landlord to act on the complaints I have sent him in a letter. Well, apparently, I cannot just stop paying the utilities. Do you want to know why?  Because I forgot that I had the utility bills under my name.  Was a know if I stop paying the bills, I would get in trouble – not my landlord. It seems that it works like that in my state.

Basically, this is how utility payments work when you’re a renter:

  • The landlord will transfer the utility bills under your name.  So that would include and that is electricity, water, and gas and in some states, that would include trash collection too.
  • Every month you will get utility bills in your address.  It is your responsibility to pay these bills on or before their due date.  You cannot deduct them from your rent because these are entirely different.
  • If you decide to move out, the utilities will be transferred back to your landlord’s name.

Here are some additional things that you need to know about utilities and you:

  1. Your landlord has to request for the transfer of the utilities to your name, with your consent.
  2. The condition of transfer must be clearly outlined in the lease agreement that you have signed.  If it is not clear to you, you must seek clarification on from your landlord.
  3. If the utilities are transferred to your name in you do not pay for them, the utility company may come after you.  Even if you move to another address, the utility company will still try to collect their money.
  4. In some states, the landlord will still hold responsibility if the tenant refuses to pay the bills.
  5. If you don’t pay and the landlord is not obliged to pay in your behalf, cutting the services will be the discretion of the utility company, and not the landlord’s.

Now if you want to get even if your landlord, was not in very good to you, I would suggest that you come up with more creative ways.  For instance, instead of ruining my reputation and good credit by not paying the utility bills under my name, I filed a formal complaint against my landlord.  And because he did not respond, a negative public image was released and indexed by all search engines and that was the end of his “good” landlord reputation. Here’s the link I used, by the way, http://www.rentalprotectionagency.com/complaint_center.php

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Edited on: Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 1:21 pm
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