My landlord, with whom I do not have a lease, is trying to collect utility payments back to January 2013? Can he do this?

Asked about 1 year ago - Ann Arbor, MI

We moved in in December 2012 with no formal lease. For the first 9 months we lived here no mention was made of us paying utilities. On August 27 our landlord sent an email outlining 8 full months of electric and gas that we now owe. I feel this is highly unfair to us. I have told him to keep the $300 deposit to pay for utilities because we are moving out on November 1. Can he do this, wait 9 months, then give us a large bill, which I cannot pay at this point.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Robert E. Harris Jr.

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . He was not supposed to take a deposit without a written agreement. He absolutely cannot charge you for the utilities already used without that WRITING. He can however, charge you from this point forward. You should have contacted an attorney before pledging your $300.00 to a debt your landlord couldn't collect.

  2. Aaron Scott Hill

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If there was no mention of the utility payments at the outset, he can not charge you for them. Without a lease, he can change policy and bind you from that point forward, but you should not owe for the past utility bills.

    Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only,... more

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