My property manager is saying I must pay for my evicted tenant's electric bill.

By StefanieUF

I currently have an agreement with a property manager to handle the rental of my home.  The home is in Florida, as are my husband and I, but the property is 7 hours away.  A tenant moved into the home in mid-August.  The tenant paid pro-rated rent for August, full rent for September and 1/2 of rent for October and then stopped paying.  One-third of the security deposit was also paid.  The eviction process is in the final stages and the tenant is in the process of moving out.  However, the property manager did not require the tenant to transfer the electricity out of the property management company’s name and into his own at anytime during his time living in the home.  Therefore, the tenant made one electric payment of approximately $100 in his almost 4-month term and the property management company and myself have paid the minimum to maintain electricity to the home.  The property manager is now stating that my husband and I must pay the balance of the electricity bill (even if the tenant is out of the home) and is not returning the balance of the money currently in our account.

I realize that a landlord cannot indirectly or directly cause termination of electricity while a tenant is in the home.  However, once the Writ of Possession is served and/or the tenant is out of the home, can the property manager require that we pay the balance of the electric bill?  Also, it should be noted that this property manager did not do a complete credit check on the tenant prior to his moving in the home or we would have known that the tenant could not have electricity turned on due to non-payment of previous bills as well as a recent bankruptcy.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  I am extremely frustrated and stressed due to the advanced nature of the situation:)

Thank you for your help!

Edited on: Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 6:34 am

2 Responses to “My property manager is saying I must pay for my evicted tenant's electric bill.”

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

alv002

December 29th, 2009 7:42 am

The electric and gas bills follow the tenant. The landlord is not responsible for paying these bills. However, if there are any unpaid water bills the landlord must pay those.


Amy

May 23rd, 2011 2:20 pm

Questions like these should be directed to a lawyer. First, read your contract you have with the management company. Did you agree for them to allow your tenants to use the property management’s utilities or did the contract the tenant signed (which you should have received a copy of) specify that ALL utilities are the responsibility of the tenant?? If it was the tenants, then your PM company is at fault for not following through. If everything you say about them not paying rent, etc is true, then it sounds like your PM company didn’t do what you pay them to do, which is manage your property. I don’t know how long it takes to evict someone in FL but it takes 21 days in Texas so I’d be asking why it took so long.
You may have rights to compensation from them in excess of the utilities. Again, speak to a lawyer, even if you have to pay him $200 for an hour of his services it is worth it! I have one on retainer just so I can ask him questions every so often and it has gotten me out of hot water more than once…


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