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Re: Lease ending, utilites transfer procedure?
by Freda DeMarco (GA)
on March 24, 2014 @18:03
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.
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