Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

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jfn111
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by jfn111 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:11 pm

rooms222 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:34 am
Also, check out to see if your utility companies have a landlord service or notification. My utility lets a landlord know if there is a pending disconnection, a standing order to switch back to landlord with notification, and records that it is a tenant in the building, so service will not be denied to the landlord or new tenant because of an unpaid bill by a previous tenant. It also lets the landlord know if a prospective tenant cannot get electrical service due to bad credit or outstanding bills, a red flag that might normally be overcome by the potential tenant getting service in someone else's name with you none the wiser.

https://landlord.dteenergy.com/help.html

This is critical, at least in cold areas. A family member did not have this set up, and when the tenants were evicted, the pipes froze and did $50,000 worth of damage to the house.
+1, most utilities have this option for rental properties.

Oakwood42
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Oakwood42 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:47 pm

ohai wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:37 am
Isn't the security deposit created for exactly situations like this?
+1

TropikThunder
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by TropikThunder » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Scrapr wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:31 am
dm200 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:13 am
Maybe experience and successful landlords could comment - but I wonder if there are way(s) the landlord can detect such problems during the lease?
One way I've heard landlords do this is change the HVAC filters twice a year. That allows access ...with notice of course. Now what you do about a filthy home I have no idea
Even better is for inspection of smoke and/or radon detectors since the tenant can’t push back by saying they’ll change the filters themselves.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by dm200 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:35 pm

TropikThunder wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:50 pm
Scrapr wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:31 am
dm200 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:13 am
Maybe experience and successful landlords could comment - but I wonder if there are way(s) the landlord can detect such problems during the lease?
One way I've heard landlords do this is change the HVAC filters twice a year. That allows access ...with notice of course. Now what you do about a filthy home I have no idea
Even better is for inspection of smoke and/or radon detectors since the tenant can’t push back by saying they’ll change the filters themselves.
Yes.. And doing this can be a way of showing the tenants that you are a responsible landlord - looking out for their comfort and safety.

Katietsu
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Katietsu » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:58 pm

The woman behaved horribly. However, I have always contacted the utilities and ended service every time I have moved from a rental. Sometimes, the landlord had an agreement on record with the utility company to assume responsibility for the billing and the service would remain on. Other times, the utility would be shut off. I think this one is lack of experience on the landlord’s part.

ronno2018
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by ronno2018 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:14 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:15 am
turkey1234 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:32 am
My brother needs advice. He rented his prior house out to a woman for a 1 year lease. He used to live in the house and it was totally remodeled and nice. The woman moved in and complained about everything and he always fixed everything. He even had the house professionally cleaned THREE times after she moved in because she complained it wasn't cleaned enough. She always paid on time.

Her lease ended at the end of this July. She texted him and asked to move out early and break the lease in June because she bought a house. My brother texted her that he would split the month of July with her and she said OK. She moved out this weekend and she left the house absolutely filthy. The oven and everything was disgusting. Nothing was damaged but the closet and shower doors were even off. The grass was a foot high and she never trimmed the bushes or anything. She commented that since she moved in and the house was dirty that she was leaving it 10x dirtier. She never paid half of July's rent and to top if off she called all the utility companies and had all the utilities shut off completely. My brother figured that she would pay half of July's utilities too not shut them off. He still has her full $1200 security deposit. Can he take out for the fees to turn on all the utilities? Should he keep the full security deposit? He has never had any issues with tenants.
Actions:
1
Be glad that the tenant is gone and the lease ended when it needed to end.
2
Be glad that the damages are all cosmetic as you say, nothing was damaged.
3
Be glad that the tenant did indeed pay rent for most of the full term and did not require an eviction.
4
Depending on the landlord-tenant code and local laws and practices, your brother can deduct the cost of restoring the unit. He should have all receipts and accounting of work done and materials used. Document everything. Photo's etc. Hopefully, he had a mutually signed "inventory check in sheet" and a "inventory check out sheet" (if tenant not present for this, note it). Some states diferentiate between "non refundable" "cleaning fee" and "security deposit". It varies.
5
Your brother can also deduct any back rent that is due, amortized to the day of move out. Again, document this.
6
Your brother cannot arbitrarily keep the entire security deposit unless the documented deductions #4 and #5 meet or exceed that amount.
7
As for the charge to turn the utilities back on. I would not go there. It is a gray area that is not worth pursuing. If the tenant were to go to small claims court for those charges, she can simply claim that she thought that shutting off the utillites to "end her account/bill" was normal practice, etc etc etc. (not legal counsel) But, in my experience, gray area deductions are not worth pursuing.
8
Your brother needs to send to the tenant in both email and hard copy, the schedule of deductions from her security deposit and any balance due her, ASAP. When in doubt, err on the tenant's behalf.
9
see #1-3 and move on.
10
It is better to spend effort on restoring and rerenting the unit as soon as possible. One month's loss rent earned back by quick turnover is well worth the effort vs chasing the past. Focus on vacancy rate, not so much on recovering losses because the odds of the later are not favorable.

*Universal Disclaimer: There are a lot of ways to approach this and these are some of them.
Everyone does things differently with varioius opinions, and what works in some areas does not apply to others.
(not legal advice)

j
Sandtrap can I hire you to manage my future rental properties? :sharebeer

balbrec2
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by balbrec2 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:21 pm

Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:03 am
I would take pictures and document everything, including all bills and cleaning fees.
Keep the deposit and wait for litigation in small claims court by the ex tenant.
Have all your ducks in a row, just in case.
+1

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Watty
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Watty » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:04 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:58 pm
The woman behaved horribly. However, I have always contacted the utilities and ended service every time I have moved from a rental. Sometimes, the landlord had an agreement on record with the utility company to assume responsibility for the billing and the service would remain on. Other times, the utility would be shut off. I think this one is lack of experience on the landlord’s part.
+1

It has been a long time since I have rented but if the utilities were in my name I would want to have my name taken off the account when I left. Often times a utility will also require a security deposit that you would only get back when your account is closed.

CurlyDave
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by CurlyDave » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:21 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am

It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.
Actually, what it teaches me is that just like we need an Investing Policy Statement, those who rent properties need a Landlord Policy Statement.

In this instance: (1) I think it is foolish to think that a tenant will take care of a house as well as an owner would.

(2) Because the owner lived in the house previously there may well be some emotional baggage present.

(3) The amenities in the house are higher end, which I would never recommend for a rental.

(4) There is a way to "preview" tenants. I only write month-to-month leases. If someone is too demanding, obnoxious, or has any number of other defects, I can terminate the agreement with one month notice. A year long lease does not really protect a landlord -- most tenants are judgement proof, and I have an obligation to re-rent in order to mitigate any damages. The primary person a longer lease protects is the tenant by preventing rent increases.

From reading rental threads on this board, there are two kinds of landlords. One is the person who is renting their personal residence while they are away for an extended period and the second is the person who is in it as a business. While people fall on a continuum between these ends, I think they cluster at one end or the other.

Renting your personal residence during a period of absence should not be viewed as a profit making endeavor -- it is a loss avoidance exercise.

Owning rentals as a business is entirely different. I have never chosen my dream house as a rental. I choose rentals based on business reasons. I look for simplicity of amenities, and ease of maintenance. I try hard to not let my emotions get into the purchase decision.

As a house the owner previously occupied this was a poor choice for a rental in the first place.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Getting down to the specifics here, in every place I have ever been, a security deposit was acceptable for use in cleaning up extraordinary dirt.

Utility reconnect fees are a really gray area, but I doubt they represent that much money to start with. Build them into the next rental contract. And get the utility rollover plans they they usually offer.

Other than that, just be aware that moving is a long tiring job. The last thing a person moving out wants to do is clean up the old place. Just accept this as part of being a landlord.

michaeljc70
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:26 pm

CurlyDave wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:21 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am

It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.
Actually, what it teaches me is that just like we need an Investing Policy Statement, those who rent properties need a Landlord Policy Statement.

In this instance: (1) I think it is foolish to think that a tenant will take care of a house as well as an owner would.

(2) Because the owner lived in the house previously there may well be some emotional baggage present.

(3) The amenities in the house are higher end, which I would never recommend for a rental.

(4) There is a way to "preview" tenants. I only write month-to-month leases. If someone is too demanding, obnoxious, or has any number of other defects, I can terminate the agreement with one month notice. A year long lease does not really protect a landlord -- most tenants are judgement proof, and I have an obligation to re-rent in order to mitigate any damages. The primary person a longer lease protects is the tenant by preventing rent increases.

From reading rental threads on this board, there are two kinds of landlords. One is the person who is renting their personal residence while they are away for an extended period and the second is the person who is in it as a business. While people fall on a continuum between these ends, I think they cluster at one end or the other.

Renting your personal residence during a period of absence should not be viewed as a profit making endeavor -- it is a loss avoidance exercise.

Owning rentals as a business is entirely different. I have never chosen my dream house as a rental. I choose rentals based on business reasons. I look for simplicity of amenities, and ease of maintenance. I try hard to not let my emotions get into the purchase decision.

As a house the owner previously occupied this was a poor choice for a rental in the first place.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Getting down to the specifics here, in every place I have ever been, a security deposit was acceptable for use in cleaning up extraordinary dirt.

Utility reconnect fees are a really gray area, but I doubt they represent that much money to start with. Build them into the next rental contract. And get the utility rollover plans they they usually offer.

Other than that, just be aware that moving is a long tiring job. The last thing a person moving out wants to do is clean up the old place. Just accept this as part of being a landlord.
I agree with most of what you said. And I've seen this raised in other threads. I would never, if I wanted a 12 month lease, agree to a month to month lease as a tenant. If you can get qualified candidates to agree to that, good for you. Where I live, someone agreeing to those terms would be suspect unless they really wanted the flexibility.

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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by TropikThunder » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:36 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:26 pm
I agree with most of what you said. And I've seen this raised in other threads. I would never, if I wanted a 12 month lease, agree to a month to month lease as a tenant. If you can get qualified candidates to agree to that, good for you. Where I live, someone agreeing to those terms would be suspect unless they really wanted the flexibility.
+1 I see it as kind of a catch-22. A tenant who accepts a month-to-month lease (with rare exception) is not a tenant I think I would want. No one with decent money management skills is going to accept the possibility of 3, 4, 5 or more rent increases in a year’s time (assuming you even have to give 30 day notice of rent increase).

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celia
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by celia » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:56 pm

Tenant turned off all utilities
What is the problem with this? If you were a renter with utilities in your name, wouldn’t you want them turned off when you move so you aren’t stuck paying for the next tenant who never gets around to putting utilities in their name?

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LilyFleur
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by LilyFleur » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:08 am

dm200 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:45 am
Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:42 am
After the mess is cleaned up and the rental is restored, take pictures of everything before the new tenant moves in.
And take pictures every time before a new tenant moves in, with dates/timestamp etc.
Good ideas.

This sounds like a "tenant from hell."

Just wondering if there might have been some kind of lack of due diligence in checking out this tenant as well. ???

My guess is that successful and experienced landlords have techniques to screen such tenants and avoid renting to them.
Yes, there are a number of good techniques which I learned from the Nolo Press book about how to be a landlord. I went to my future tenant's apartment to pick up his deposit check. He thought I was being really nice to pick up that check. I got to see how he lived, before he moved into my rental house.

The book also recommended hiring and paying a gardener to do the yard work.

I have never heard of a landlord paying for housecleaning for a tenant before.

fru-gal
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by fru-gal » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:13 am

CHANGE THE LOCKS IMMEDIATELY.

Momus
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Momus » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:27 am

Return the security deposit minus itemized receipt of cleaning invoice, grass cutting service, anything else even minor things. Picture of before and after, any damages. She probably get 0 back to a bill in the mail if I'm the landlord. You might have to spend a day in court but no worries, you will not have to pay anything with itemized receipts.

Helo80
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Helo80 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:56 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am
It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.

Oh heck yes... i remember the thread a few weeks ago, “why wouldn’t you want to be a landlord?” ... and many of us replied with situations like this... and OP was giving the Pikachu mouth wide open meme...

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jfn111
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by jfn111 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:19 am

celia wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:56 pm
Tenant turned off all utilities
What is the problem with this? If you were a renter with utilities in your name, wouldn’t you want them turned off when you move so you aren’t stuck paying for the next tenant who never gets around to putting utilities in their name?
There is no problem with this, it's exactly what the tenant should have done. The problem is the owner didn't have an agreement with the utility companies to transfer them to his/her name upon cancellation from the tenant. (You wouldn't want to be in MN, in the winter, and have the gas shut off.) :shock:

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dm200
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by dm200 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 am

Watty wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:04 pm
Katietsu wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:58 pm
The woman behaved horribly. However, I have always contacted the utilities and ended service every time I have moved from a rental. Sometimes, the landlord had an agreement on record with the utility company to assume responsibility for the billing and the service would remain on. Other times, the utility would be shut off. I think this one is lack of experience on the landlord’s part.
+1
It has been a long time since I have rented but if the utilities were in my name I would want to have my name taken off the account when I left. Often times a utility will also require a security deposit that you would only get back when your account is closed.
Sure - but the tenant should not tuen them off - just transfer to the landlord's account.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:41 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 am
Watty wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:04 pm
Katietsu wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:58 pm
The woman behaved horribly. However, I have always contacted the utilities and ended service every time I have moved from a rental. Sometimes, the landlord had an agreement on record with the utility company to assume responsibility for the billing and the service would remain on. Other times, the utility would be shut off. I think this one is lack of experience on the landlord’s part.
+1
It has been a long time since I have rented but if the utilities were in my name I would want to have my name taken off the account when I left. Often times a utility will also require a security deposit that you would only get back when your account is closed.
Sure - but the tenant should not tuen them off - just transfer to the landlord's account.
I'm not sure if someone can just transfer "payment responsibility" to a third party (would the vendor accept that uncertainty, plus sometimes credit info is required), but they SHOULD have notified the landlord that they were about to do that.

More importantly, this is something a landlord should be aware will or might occur... and should be proactive with the vendor(s).

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by dm200 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:42 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:41 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 am
Watty wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:04 pm
Katietsu wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:58 pm
The woman behaved horribly. However, I have always contacted the utilities and ended service every time I have moved from a rental. Sometimes, the landlord had an agreement on record with the utility company to assume responsibility for the billing and the service would remain on. Other times, the utility would be shut off. I think this one is lack of experience on the landlord’s part.
+1
It has been a long time since I have rented but if the utilities were in my name I would want to have my name taken off the account when I left. Often times a utility will also require a security deposit that you would only get back when your account is closed.
Sure - but the tenant should not tuen them off - just transfer to the landlord's account.
I'm not sure if someone can just transfer "payment responsibility" to a third party (would the vendor accept that uncertainty, plus sometimes credit info is required), but they SHOULD have notified the landlord that they were about to do that.
More importantly, this is something a landlord should be aware will or might occur... and should be proactive with the vendor(s).
RM
OK - let me rephrase - arrange with the landlord to have utilities transferred to the landlord's account.

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teen persuasion
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by teen persuasion » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:59 am

celia wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:56 pm
Tenant turned off all utilities
What is the problem with this? If you were a renter with utilities in your name, wouldn’t you want them turned off when you move so you aren’t stuck paying for the next tenant who never gets around to putting utilities in their name?
+1

When we rented in the distant past, it was always the tenant's responsibility to have utility service turned off, if the service was in the tenant's name. The landlord couldn't make any changes to a utility account, if their name wasn't on the account.

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dm200
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by dm200 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:05 am

teen persuasion wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:59 am
celia wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:56 pm
Tenant turned off all utilities
What is the problem with this? If you were a renter with utilities in your name, wouldn’t you want them turned off when you move so you aren’t stuck paying for the next tenant who never gets around to putting utilities in their name?
+1
When we rented in the distant past, it was always the tenant's responsibility to have utility service turned off, if the service was in the tenant's name. The landlord couldn't make any changes to a utility account, if their name wasn't on the account.
For many reasons, it can be a very bad idea to have utilities just turned off. I have forgotten how this was done when I was a renter of several different houses - but, except for telephone service, the utilities were never turned off either when I moved in or moved out.

TropikThunder
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by TropikThunder » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:18 am

teen persuasion wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:59 am
celia wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:56 pm
Tenant turned off all utilities
What is the problem with this? If you were a renter with utilities in your name, wouldn’t you want them turned off when you move so you aren’t stuck paying for the next tenant who never gets around to putting utilities in their name?
+1

When we rented in the distant past, it was always the tenant's responsibility to have utility service turned off, if the service was in the tenant's name. The landlord couldn't make any changes to a utility account, if their name wasn't on the account.
+1. For the same reason, the renter can't switch service back into the landlord's name on their own. Also, given how many landlords on here advise setting up an LLC or some sort of legal entity, and/or use a management company, how often does the renter even know the full name of the landlord to give to the utility company? And how many utility companies would process a billing changeover to someone they aren't talking to? Having it be the renter's responsibility to change the billing back to the landlord fails on so many logical levels.

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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Wricha » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:54 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:15 am
turkey1234 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:32 am
My brother needs advice. He rented his prior house out to a woman for a 1 year lease. He used to live in the house and it was totally remodeled and nice. The woman moved in and complained about everything and he always fixed everything. He even had the house professionally cleaned THREE times after she moved in because she complained it wasn't cleaned enough. She always paid on time.

Her lease ended at the end of this July. She texted him and asked to move out early and break the lease in June because she bought a house. My brother texted her that he would split the month of July with her and she said OK. She moved out this weekend and she left the house absolutely filthy. The oven and everything was disgusting. Nothing was damaged but the closet and shower doors were even off. The grass was a foot high and she never trimmed the bushes or anything. She commented that since she moved in and the house was dirty that she was leaving it 10x dirtier. She never paid half of July's rent and to top if off she called all the utility companies and had all the utilities shut off completely. My brother figured that she would pay half of July's utilities too not shut them off. He still has her full $1200 security deposit. Can he take out for the fees to turn on all the utilities? Should he keep the full security deposit? He has never had any issues with tenants.
Actions:
1
Be glad that the tenant is gone and the lease ended when it needed to end.
2
Be glad that the damages are all cosmetic as you say, nothing was damaged.
3
Be glad that the tenant did indeed pay rent for most of the full term and did not require an eviction.
4
Depending on the landlord-tenant code and local laws and practices, your brother can deduct the cost of restoring the unit. He should have all receipts and accounting of work done and materials used. Document everything. Photo's etc. Hopefully, he had a mutually signed "inventory check in sheet" and a "inventory check out sheet" (if tenant not present for this, note it). Some states diferentiate between "non refundable" "cleaning fee" and "security deposit". It varies.
5
Your brother can also deduct any back rent that is due, amortized to the day of move out. Again, document this.
6
Your brother cannot arbitrarily keep the entire security deposit unless the documented deductions #4 and #5 meet or exceed that amount.
7
As for the charge to turn the utilities back on. I would not go there. It is a gray area that is not worth pursuing. If the tenant were to go to small claims court for those charges, she can simply claim that she thought that shutting off the utillites to "end her account/bill" was normal practice, etc etc etc. (not legal counsel) But, in my experience, gray area deductions are not worth pursuing.
8
Your brother needs to send to the tenant in both email and hard copy, the schedule of deductions from her security deposit and any balance due her, ASAP. When in doubt, err on the tenant's behalf.
9
see #1-3 and move on.
10
It is better to spend effort on restoring and rerenting the unit as soon as possible. One month's loss rent earned back by quick turnover is well worth the effort vs chasing the past. Focus on vacancy rate, not so much on recovering losses because the odds of the later are not favorable.

*Universal Disclaimer: There are a lot of ways to approach this and these are some of them.
Everyone does things differently with varioius opinions, and what works in some areas does not apply to others.
(not legal advice)

j
I think your brother got off kinda easy compared to what could have happened. Need to consult an attorney for your area to see what are the rules of engagement. You may find your brother has less standing than you think.

3-20Characters
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by 3-20Characters » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:20 am

friar1610 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:26 am
I have no thoughts/advice on this specific issue. But I do think it's a great thread to which to refer posters who ask about whether owning rental real estate is a good alternative to index funds.
I was thinking the same thing while reading. Keep in mind, this is not the worst of it. Not by a long shot.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by JonnyDVM » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:13 am

:!:
balbrec2 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:21 pm
Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:03 am
I would take pictures and document everything, including all bills and cleaning fees.
Keep the deposit and wait for litigation in small claims court by the ex tenant.
Have all your ducks in a row, just in case.
+1
Document thoroughly. Keep security deposit. Do not ever sink a lot of lot of money into a rental until because people are terrible. Paying for a professional cleaning 3X fits that category. As other have mentioned you HAVE to have it set up with the utility company for the utilities to revert back to the landlords name. Be glad this woman isn’t a squatter. It could be worse. Run a background and credit check on every prospective tenet. I doubt it would have mattered in this case but it’s good practice. Also make sure the lease is clear about things like this in case you run into it again in the future.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

bberris
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by bberris » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:39 am

Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:03 am
I would take pictures and document everything, including all bills and cleaning fees.
Keep the deposit and wait for litigation in small claims court by the ex tenant.
Have all your ducks in a row, just in case.
No.
Depending on local laws and the lease terms you probably have to reconcile repair, cleaning, unpaid bills etc with the tenant that you are charging against the deposit within 60 days by mail. Do it even if it is not required, and even if the tenant violated terms of the lease. Without that, the landlord will lose in court.

LordB
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by LordB » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:56 am

If OP's relative wants to pursue the tenant for damages and/or attempt to keep any money such as a security deposit then OP's relative needs to talk to a lawyer because I am quite certain that OP's relative does not know what is legal in their area based on their naivety on other matters.

The laws on this vary widely and I have seen lots of advice here that if you did that in my state the tenant would end up getting paid 3x damages by the landlord as it is illegal and/or has very specific requirements to do it legally.

The laws vary from the landlord can do whatever they want and charge anything remotely justifiable to there must be receipt for everything, depreciation must be taken into account and a whole bunch of other restrictions that if you get them wrong tends to have a judge rule in favor of the tenant for everything if it goes to court including damages against the landlord.

Smoke
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Smoke » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:40 am

bberris wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:39 am
Smoke wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:03 am
I would take pictures and document everything, including all bills and cleaning fees.
Keep the deposit and wait for litigation in small claims court by the ex tenant.
Have all your ducks in a row, just in case.
No.
Depending on local laws and the lease terms you probably have to reconcile repair, cleaning, unpaid bills etc with the tenant that you are charging against the deposit within 60 days by mail. Do it even if it is not required, and even if the tenant violated terms of the lease. Without that, the landlord will lose in court.
ok
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.

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AerialWombat
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by AerialWombat » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:51 am

Helo80 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:56 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am
It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.

Oh heck yes... i remember the thread a few weeks ago, “why wouldn’t you want to be a landlord?” ... and many of us replied with situations like this... and OP was giving the Pikachu mouth wide open meme...
As a landlord, one simply needs to assume that a certain percentage of tenants will do a certain amount of damage. This needs to be calculated before buying, and is part of your reserves and the rent charged. Just part of running this particular kind of business.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

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Sandtrap
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:52 am

Helo80 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:56 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am
It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.

Oh heck yes... i remember the thread a few weeks ago, “why wouldn’t you want to be a landlord?” ... and many of us replied with situations like this... and OP was giving the Pikachu mouth wide open meme...
What is this?

j
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Nowizard
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Nowizard » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:41 am

I would simply refer the former tenant to the lease, mention clearly stated areas where deductions could be made from the security deposit, possibly imply others and ask her if she agreed that it was in the best interest of everyone to settle through discussion rather than incur additional cost and time. She has been both agreeable and difficult at different times based on your comments. Document and take photos as suggested. The owner of the property has something she wants all or part of, her deposit.

Tim

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ResearchMed
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:45 am

Nowizard wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:41 am
I would simply refer the former tenant to the lease, mention clearly stated areas where deductions could be made from the security deposit, possibly imply others and ask her if she agreed that it was in the best interest of everyone to settle through discussion rather than incur additional cost and time. She has been both agreeable and difficult at different times based on your comments. Document and take photos as suggested. The owner of the property has something she wants all or part of, her deposit.

Tim
I wouldn't "ask her if she agreed" about anything.
Just explain the terms, show receipts, and see it that is sufficient.
If not, then state that otherwise, it will likely be more costly, and point out where the terms again support *your* position; also point out anything mentioning her paying YOUR legal costs, which "will start right away" if necessary.

Just keep it very simple and straightforward, and don't invite disagreement.

Then just stick with it if necessary.
And see how she proceeds, if at all.

RM
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BIGal
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by BIGal » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:54 am

dm200 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:56 am
ohai wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:37 am
Isn't the security deposit created for exactly situations like this?
When I was a tenant, that is what I believed. I suggest that any and all such issues be very detailed as to the "cost" of each item. Start with the biggest issue and work down to the smaller ones. Try to leave out any "gray" areas - such as the lawn not being cut.

Was actual harm done by the utilities being turned off?
Turning off utilities without informing the owner can create a multitude of problems. If the weather is freezing, pipes could burst. If it is extremely warm and/or humid the house could be damaged. Owners should contact the utility company and ask that if a tenant requests a utility to turn off service that he/she be notified and also to automatically put the service back into their name to prevent problems.

Personally, I would have the home professionally cleaned and any damages repaired and all on the tenant's deposit. It may be wise to take some photographs before/after just in case.

Helo80
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Helo80 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:43 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:52 am
Helo80 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:56 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am
It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.

Oh heck yes... i remember the thread a few weeks ago, “why wouldn’t you want to be a landlord?” ... and many of us replied with situations like this... and OP was giving the Pikachu mouth wide open meme...
What is this?

j
The pikachu mouth wide open meme is where a person does something that has a very obvious outcome, the obvious outcome happens, the person is surprised that this outcome happened.

Pikachu: Why wouldn't you want to be a landlord?

Me: b/c tenants can trash your place and cause you thousands of dollars of headaches

and then pikachu makes this face:
Image

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Sandtrap
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Re: Tenant turned off all utilities advice please!!

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:24 pm

Helo80 wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:43 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:52 am
Helo80 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:56 am
willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:41 am
It's situations like this that make me glad that I'm not a landlord.

Oh heck yes... i remember the thread a few weeks ago, “why wouldn’t you want to be a landlord?” ... and many of us replied with situations like this... and OP was giving the Pikachu mouth wide open meme...
What is this?

j
The pikachu mouth wide open meme is where a person does something that has a very obvious outcome, the obvious outcome happens, the person is surprised that this outcome happened.

Pikachu: Why wouldn't you want to be a landlord?

Me: b/c tenants can trash your place and cause you thousands of dollars of headaches

and then pikachu makes this face:
Image
Okay.
Now I "really" feel dated. :shock:

super thanks
j :D
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