Is it legal for a landlord to say that you have to leave all the utilities on during the last 30 days of your rental contract?

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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Is it legal for a landlord to say that you have to leave all the utilities on during the last 30 days of your rental contract?

Our landlord’s contract has a clause in it that states that when we give our 30 day notice to leave we have to leave the power and water on until the 30 days is up, even if he takes possession of the property sooner. Is this legal?

Asked on August 31, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The written lease between the landlord and the tenant controls the obligations that each owe to the other concerning the rented unit in the absence of conflicting state law.

If your written lease with the lanlord states that you are required to leave all utilities on during the last thirty (30) days of the lease, presumably you are not to contact the utility company to shut them off before then, that provision in the lease is valid. There is nothing contrary to public policy to not uphold that provision in the lease.

The purpose most likely is to make sure that the utilities are always in the name of the tenant and not the landlord concerning the rented unit.

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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