Does the landlord have to make sure that a tenant has utility service?

UPDATED: Aug 20, 2012

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Does the landlord have to make sure that a tenant has utility service?

I am supposed to pay for utilities. I moved in about 2 weeks ago but I can’t get the electric turned on in my name because I already owe the electric company (it will take me about 1 month to come up with the money I owe the electric company). The landlord says that he is going to take the electric service out of his name and then I won’t have any electric. Can he do this?

Asked on August 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is obligated to provide a "habitable premises" for a tenant. This includes having utility hook-ups at the premises. However, once these hook-ups are provided, a landlord is not obligated for a specific utility service to be turned on (unless utilities are suppossed to be provided by the landlord as per the terms of the lease; not your situation).

So I suggest that you get your past bill cleared up ASAP. In the alternative, maybe your landlord will agree to keep them in his name for a little longer if agree to reimburse him and possibly provide some sort of utility deposit.

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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