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I live where the utilities are going to two rentals and I have them in my name . The other tenants refuse to pay the bills,

Lake Elsinore, CA |

Do I have the right to disconnect them from the electricity? The electric company says that I have the right to do what ever I want to do with the box, But when I attempted to disconnect them, they attacked me. Is it legal for me to do this?

Attorney Answers 2


It is not clear whether you are the landlord, or one of the tenant. If you are the landlord, you cannot turn off the utilities because you would render the unit not habitable. If you are a tenant, then, do you have an agreement with the landlord for you to pay for the second unit's utilities. Or, you and the other tenant are jointly responsible for the utilities. In addition, there may be issue of possible illegal unit. As a result, it requires one set of meters to serve two units. You don't have enough facts for a proper answer. Edward C. Ip

No attorney / client relationship established. The answr is for discussion and general information only. The lawyer had not reviewed any documents or contract prior to the above comments.

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Mr. Ip is correct; I would like to expand. A landlord must compensate tenants whose utility payments cover more than their unit. The landlord must pay either for the electricity for which the tenants pay that go to the common area or to premises occupied by other tenants. The Legislature did not spell out how the courts or the parties are supposed to figure that out. Generally, the lease provides for payment of a certain amount by the other tenants.

PG&E, and I expect your utility company is no different, will not separately meter units built or occupied without a permit. Almost every property that has your arrangement has a code violation.

I would not disconnect the electricity. Instead, I would demand from your landlord that either he or the other tenants pay their share. Whatever you do, do not threaten to report the landlord to the local planning department because of his code violation.

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