You May Be Held Responsible For Renter’s Bills

Landlords bewareI received an extra sewage bill in my mailbox last week.  I didn’t stress over it much because I figured that surely it had to be a mistake.  A couple days later, I called about it, sure that I would be told to just throw it away, but to my surprise, I was told that I had to pay it – even though the account wasn’t in my name, nor had I ever co-signed for it!

It turns out that the previous tenants at my other house had NEVER paid their sewage bill.  It was in their name.  They lived at the residence.  They agreed to bear the responsibility for it in the lease that they signed.  But they never paid it, ever, the entire time they lived there.

Apparently, if a tenant doesn’t pay their water and/or sewage bills, the property owner is responsible for those bills, no matter what the lease says.  The owner legally has to pay them, though the owner can sue the tenants for reimbursement.

I did not know that.  I wish I had.  I also wish that the township had notified me much sooner about the outstanding sewage bill instead of letting the balance continue to grow each month for the entire time the tenants lived there and then presenting it to me 6 months after I had evicted them.

Nonetheless, this is a word of caution to you (and me):  Be careful who you let rent from you.  Remember, if they don’t pay their bills, you might have to!

Article by Randi Millward

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