Cutting off electricity

Ok, I know I screwed up…now how do I correct this? My tenant signed the lease on a Saturday and I allowed them to move in. The utilities were in my name and he was to put them in his name on Monday. It didn’t happen. Of course, now he is short of funds, doesn’t have the deposit, etc. etc. In the lease he is responsible for all utilities. He wants me to keep it in my name and he will pay me. I said no. I have done that before and got burned. Can I legally have the power turned off since it is in my name?

I guess I will keep making mistakes with tenants until I learn most of the lessons the hard way. I just try my best not to learn the same lesson twice.

His tough luck if he can’t afford to have it turned on. Your lease says you aren’t responsible for utilities so its his issue. He thinks you are going to pay and he’ll pay you back, yeah right…ask him to explain how he can pay you if he can’t pay them to turn it on.

Obviously, you should NEVER allow anyone to move in until they’ve paid ALL the rent and deposit IN CASH and they have switched the uitlities to their name.


When they sign the lease and they are going to move in Monday October 1. I make arrangements with all the utilities to have them turned off effective October 1. They can ask me, but I tell them that I am sorry it is already scheduled for turn off.

Thanks for the replies. As I mentioned, I know what I did wrong and will not do that again. It was stupid. However, can I turn it off now and still be legal?

I don’t think that you can turn off the utilities without facing a lawsuit/fine for keeping your properties habitable. I would make a quick call to your attorney and ask them.

I know that this has been pretty well defined that you don’t let a tenant in until they have turned the electricity on in there name.

I even tell my property managers, that they don’t get the keys until they can produce and original and a copy (for my property manager) of the statement from the utilities saying that that property is in there name.

It’s unfortunate that Owners have to be this way, but after you get taken a few times, you realize that the ONLY one your can trust is yourself.

Mr. Hemi

this is actually pretty simple. You have a lease violation. Issue a Notice to Cure or Quit. After the time has elpased for your state (3,5, or 7 days), then proceed with a formal eviction. Sure its going to cost you money, but if this guy can’t even get the utilities turned on, do you think he will be a good, on-time rent payer??? in my book, get bad tenants out sooner rather than later.

also, when you give him the Notice, explain the next steps. I bet some money is magically “found” to resolve this utilities situation. Of course, you will hear every kind of excuse, but ignor that and do not cut any side deals ala “you pay the utilities and I’ll pay you back”.