What to do if I want to end my lease early because the gas was shut off before I moved in and is still shut off due to non-payment by my present roommate?

I have been renting an apartment for over 2 months. My roommate and the former tenant got behind on their gas bill and it was shut off before I moved in and currently still is. The electricity was also shut off when I moved in too. I helped my roommate pay the late bills for the electricity (even though I wasn’t living there during the time the electric wasn’t paid) but I can’t afford to do the same with the gas and I refuse. The stove is a gas stove so other than a microwave I can’t cook anything. I would like to get out of my 12 month lease but the landlord says I have to find someone to take my place. I fear that no one will want to rent a place they can’t cook a meal in? Do I have any grounds to terminate my lease early without penalty or having to find a replacement tenant?

Asked on July 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written, if you have a sub-lease to be a tenant in the unit you occupy where your roommate is responsible for paying the utility bill directly and not the owner of the rental, you have a factual and legal basis to terminate your sub-lease without recourse.

However, if your lease is directly with the owner of the rental and the tenants are responsible for paying the utility bill directly to the utility company, you do not have a factual and legal basis to end your lease without recourse with the landlord.


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