A utility bill was left unpaid at a property in which a customer was renting. The utility service was in the renters name. A deposit was paid and this deposit was used towards their bill but a balance still remains. A new renter is moving into this property.
Ordinarily, a utility bill follows the customer, not the property. Therefore, it is the prior tenant's responsibility. The landlord should notify the utility company that the prior tenant has moved. It is the utility's responsibility to pursue the charges. The utility should turn the utility into the new tenant's name on request from the new tenant.
Of course, every utility company is different and has their own set of internal rules.
Best of luck.
The foregoing discussion does not establish an attorney-client relationship, is qualified by the limited facts presented above, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. To obtain definitive legal advice upon which one can rely necessitates retaining an attorney who is qualified in this particular area of the law
water/Sewer services can be a lien on the property. Gas/Electric typically is only in name of renter but most utility companies use the new service as a way of getting their money and pushing off collection to the new tenant. If you know where the old tenant is, bring a small claims action against them for the amount.
It depends upon which utility. They are not all the same. The real question is how much is at stake and it is worth creating a problem with the new tenant? You may be better off paying the bill, making the new tenant happy, and seeking to recoup from the old tenant.
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