What to do about a past due water bill that has been paid by my landlord?

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2011

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What to do about a past due water bill that has been paid by my landlord?

I pay water at my apartment and have owed for a few months now. I would pay my bill on-line with the actual company or call and make a payment. Since the water company is contracted with the leasing office it is required that we pay our bill on time or current. Since the water company is associated with the leasing office I guess they decided to pay off my water bill and then ask me to pay them (the leasing office) instead of the water company. The gave me a 3-day notice to pay the amount to them. Not knowing that they paid it off I went on-line to pay the past due balance when I realized that I had a positive 40 cents on my account. Which is no problem except I only have the money for the past due balance. The leasing office paid the past due balance and then paid the current balance which is due on the 29th of this month. Am I obligated to pay the full amount including the current amount to the leasing office even if it’s not due until the 29th?

Asked on September 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most situations involving a dispute over a tenancy between the landlord and the tenant, one needs to read the written lease (assuming there is one) in that its terms control the obligations owed by the landlord to the tenant and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

In your situation, you were obligated to pay the utilities (water bill) as part of your rental. Unfortunately you were unable to do so and as a result, your landlord's agent through the leasing office paid the delinquent water bill that you owed.

You have now been served a three (3) day notice to pay or quit concerning the delinquency. Apparently the landlord's agent paid the past due as well as the current balance owed on your water bill and wants reimbursement for such. Since you received a benefit by the landlord for the water bill payment, you need to reimburse the landlord for the past due and current amount paid on your behalf within the time period of the three (3) day period to pay or quit.

If not, you could be served with an unlawful detainer action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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