Am I responsible for paying utilities after I move out?

UPDATED: May 25, 2012

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Am I responsible for paying utilities after I move out?

I was subletting a room. The landlord had control of the utilities and put us on a budget plan. My landlord terminated my month-to-month lease and so I moved out. Then, the utility company sent my landlord bills for the following 3 months, with totals that were much higher than what we had paid (the bill was about $210 each month while I was there, and she says the bills were $250-$350 during these months). My landlord is trying to say that I am responsible for the utility bills she has received since I have left. Are there any written laws regarding this?

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the utilities were in your name, you could be liable until you canceled them, had them taken out of your name, etc.

If the utllities were in your landlord's name, however, you would only be responsible for the costs during the period of your tenancy; you would not be responsible the utilties after the expiration of your tenancy. In particular, once your landlord has terminated your lease, she may not hold you liable for utilities beyond that time. If she attempts to sue you for the money, you could seek to dismiss her complaint for failure to state a cause of action: she may not legally hold you liable for the premises' utilities after she has terminated your tenancy.

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 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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