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Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? - Landlord Forum thread 316497

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Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by GA Landlord (GA) on March 24, 2014 @12:00


We're the landlords who gave the tenants 60 days notice and are planning to sell our SFH.

What is the procedure to have the utilities transferred to us at the end of their lease so that we can start cleaning the house for sale? We don't want to get stuck with the tenants' final bill.

If we do get stuck with unpaid bills from the lease period, are we allowed to deduct them from the tenants' security deposit?


GA Landlord
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Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by Becky (IN) on March 24, 2014 @13:59 [ Reply ]
Call your local utilities providers and ask them how to best handle this. In my area, the utility companies have a landlord agreement, which is a letter that I sign and return to them, authorizing them to switch service back to me immediately when a trnant leaves. This avoids fees for reconnecting service.

You'll have to check GA landlord/tenant law to be sure you're allowed to deduct unpaid utils from their deposit (see the Landlord Tenant Law link in the pink column at the right of this forum), but yes, that is a reasonable thing to do if the tenants don't pay the final bill. (If that happens, enclose a copy of the bill with the security deposit settlement statement.)
Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by OK-LL on March 24, 2014 @14:12 [ Reply ]
Check with your utility provider. In my state, the utilities which are in tenant's name do not get charged to LL if/when unpaid. They haunt the tenant for eternity or until tenant pays; tenant will not be allowed to open a new account at another address until the delinquent account is paid. If, in fact, you have a utility who says the bill follows the property (usually city water service) then yes, you can pay it and deduct it from the tenant's SD.

You would put in your service request before the final date of tenant's occupancy, with service to start in your name the day after the tenant's final day. Tenant is responsible for utilities through their final day.
Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by Anonymous on March 24, 2014 @15:18 [ Reply ]
I am a Georgia landlord and I have never been stuck with a tenants utility bill.
All you have to do is call the utility company and say you need to change the utilities into your name on this date. They may require documentation proving you own the home such as a tax record, HUD etc.
Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by Freda DeMarco (GA) on March 24, 2014 @18:03 [ Reply ]
The only utility bill I was stuck with when a tenant left was the water bill. DeKalb County does not care whose name is on the bill, they will force the home owner to pay any outstanding water bill if the home owner ever wants water service. The landlord-tenant handbook of GA says a utility cannot require the landlord to pay a tenant's bill, but they do and there is no way around it, there's no LAW that says that, just the wording in the handbook which the utility decides they don't have to follow. It was only $42, so I feel like I got off fairly easy. Now I keep the water bill in my name and anything over $100 I make the tenant pay, it is explained before hand and they initial that line of the agreement. It's a small house and no one has ever gone near $100.

The other utilities (Gas and Power) require a credit check for who ever the account's name is in, which is never mine unless the rental is empty, so if a tenant leaves and owes money on any of those accounts, they go after the person on the account. It does not stop me from getting service turned on in my name. However, I can't get it in my name if the tenant has not terminated service. Usually, though a tenant who is leaving (even in the middle of the night) will terminate service because it will prevent them from ever getting service in their name again without a hefty fee if they wind up in collections. They will charge a person a deposit to set up service if your credit is not good, I never have to pay the deposit, however it is refunded after so many months of good payments, however, if you rent the place before that time, I don't know if you can get the deposit back.

Scana gas has a landlord agreement, but then it takes away the choice of gas providers that the tenant can use and I believe the tenant should still be able to choose the cheapest gas or use a provider they want.

I choose the gas service with no termination charge so I can turn it on and off whenever I get a new tenant or one leaves. I can deduct utility costs so a $50 connection (which is standard) is not an issue or a deal breaker.

GA Power does not have a landlord agreement (that I know of) but I would not ever want my tenant's account connected in any way to my own.

SO in closing, you will not be stuck with a tenant's gas or power bill, but the water bill is dependent on your county and what their rules are.

Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by Sally (TN) on March 25, 2014 @09:27 [ Reply ]
It should still be the tenants responsibility to pay their utilities, if they had it in their name. It should never be your responsibility. I have had tenants that did not pay their electric bill and had the electric turned off, however my lease contract states that if this happens the contract is null and void and they need to vacate the premises.Anyways, it's their bill, not mine. I have checked with all the utilities companies and they would never send me a bill that a tenant has not paid.
Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure? by GA Landlord (GA) on March 26, 2014 @07:31 [ Reply ]
Thank you very much for the great replies. It is especially good to hear from other GA landlords. Thanks for easing my mind.

GA Landlord

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