AmI legally obligated to provide electricity if my tenant’s electric was shut off because they didn’t pay their bill?

UPDATED: Aug 8, 2011

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AmI legally obligated to provide electricity if my tenant’s electric was shut off because they didn’t pay their bill?

He is a month-to-month tenant, no lease. I had the electric in my name because he had asked me. I just found out the reason was because he owes a ton of money the electric company. He kept telling me that he was paying it and I just found out last week that he has only made 4 tiny payments in the 11 months he has lived here. The electric was shut due to lack of payment.

Asked on August 8, 2011 New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you agreed to place the electricity account in your name as part of the lease agreement with your tenant, you as the landlord are obligated to keep the electricity bill current even if the tenant is behind in his or her rental payments to you.

All states in this country have laws requiring the landlord of a rented unit to provide safe and habitable conditions for his or her tenant. Electricity is a component for a habitable living unit for a tenant.

If your tenant is not paying his rent to you, your option is a 3 day notice to pay or quit, or a termination notice. You should consult with a landlord tenant attorney regarding your situation with the tenant who is not making the electricity payments.

You do not want to have a situation where the tenant starts making claims against you for not providing him electricity since the bill is in your name.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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