Tenants with lease agreements should not be able to request utility service without landlord confirmation. (Advise the utility company that service should only be initiated with the landlord's consent. In other words, the landlord should be the only individual to authorize utility account openings. Otherwise, squatters would have access to use the premises without owner knowledge.
Back to the original concern, if landlord has a rental binder then the tenant forfeits the monies. Whether there is a signed lease agreement or not, the renal binder is an earnest money deposit and is non-refundable.
By the way, landlord has not yet "dodged the proverbial bullet" because tenant can always sue to obtain refund of rental binder. It will be landlord's burden to convey the essence of the financial agreement for rental.