Featured News 2013 Landlord Left with $19,000 Water Bill

Landlord Left with $19,000 Water Bill

Landlord and tenant laws are maintained by the federal government and state statutes. Yet one landlord believes that he did not get the fair end of the deal when she was left with a $19,000 water bill after a tenant at the complex left. According to Fox News, a tenant with a shockingly high water bill moved out of his northwest Atlanta condo without ever making an effort to pay expenses. This tenant had remained in the home for years, but when he left the landlord decided to transfer the water services and other utilities back into her name for the time being.

When talking with the Water Department about the transfer, the landlord was informed that there was a large balance on the account. When the landlord explained the situation, the city declared that she was responsible for the bill if the tenant was not able to pay it. The city paperwork shows that the account was in the tenant's name originally and that the lease agreement said that utilities were not included in the rent. The city told the landlord in this situation that if she did not pay the balance herself then they would put a lien on her own property and could sue her.

The landlord reported that she was shocked by the information. When asked how a small condominium could accrue a shockingly high water bill of this nature, the water department told news stations that the department hasn't been aggressively turning off overdue water accounts until recently. This means that the tenant was able to continue using water while accumulating debt. This saddening situation raises the question about who bears the cost of tenant debts when the individual is not able to pay.

In some cases, a tenant can be sued for failing to pay the costs required of him or her. For example, if a tenant fails to pay for utilities and the landlord is contacted, then that landlord often has the right to evict the tenant about the costs. If the tenant fails to pay rent, then the landlord has the right to evict that individual. Landlords are permitted to put their foot down in frustrating situations and to continue to remind tenants that they need to pay. If the tenants fail to pay as required, then at the end of the lease term the landlord can encourage eviction. Landlords do not typically have to renew an individual's lease aft the end of the term unless the tenant is able to invoke an anti-retaliation law.

If you are a landlord and are currently dealing with tenant issues, then you have the right to hire an attorney to assist you with unruly tenants or debt situations. Don't allow yourself to get stuck with debt like these individuals. Instead, you should hire a real estate lawyer who can stand beside you as you negotiate through costs and difficulties with your tenants. A real estate attorney may also be able to help you in the event that you need to negotiate with the city on a debt that you allegedly are responsible for after a tenant abandoned his or her responsibility.

In most situations, the contracting party in the utilities agreement is the only one who is liable to pay debt. Most cases don't allow the utilities provider to seek finances from a property owner, another person residing on the property, or a future tenant. While collecting from these parties is illegal, it is not surprising that some collections agencies will try to gather finances from these individuals. If you have been forced to pay a debt you don't believe you deserve, then talk to a real estate lawyer today for more information!

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