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Can my landlord put a utility bill under my name even though I no longer live there?

College Park, MD |

Yesterday I found out my landlord recently put the electricity bill under my name even though I moved out at the end of January. He also backdated it until February 6, 2010, which was after I moved out. He never informed me of this decision or consulted me on it. There are three individuals living at the house whose name it could go under and the gas bill is still under his name. The electricity bill has a $900 balance on it as the people living there now have problems paying bills on time. To me this is a dirty way to get back at me for leaving but that is just speculation. I am still on the lease but am no longer living at the residence, I want to know if it is legal for him to do this.

Thank You!

I actually called the electric company and cancelled the service. They said as long as the landlord brings in a current lease they can switch it over to the renter's name. However, the representative I was speaking to said he should not have put the bill under my name if I was not currently living there. I am working on finding my copy of my lease but I am VERY sure it was not outlined that the landlord can put the bill in the renters name at any point.

Attorney Answers 1


As most legal questions go, this all depends on what the lease says. You should review the lease to determine the rights and responsibilities of each party.

It does seem highly unusual that a lease would allow such action. It seems likely that he may have had to impersonate you in order to take such action.

I believe the first step I would undertake would be to contact the electric company and find out how your name was placed on the account. If it appears he impersonated you I would notify the electric company to report the misrepresentation.

This could be handled either civilly or potentially criminally. I would probably draft a letter to landlord informing him of your intended action unless he:

1. Removed your name from the account; and
2. Paid the balance owed in full.

Good Luck!

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