Does the landlord have to make sure that a tenant has utility service?

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Does the landlord have to make sure that a tenant has utility service?

I am supposed to pay for utilities. I moved in about 2 weeks ago but I can’t get the electric turned on in my name because I already owe the electric company (it will take me about 1 month to come up with the money I owe the electric company). The landlord says that he is going to take the electric service out of his name and then I won’t have any electric. Can he do this?

Asked on August 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is obligated to provide a "habitable premises" for a tenant. This includes having utility hook-ups at the premises. However, once these hook-ups are provided, a landlord is not obligated for a specific utility service to be turned on (unless utilities are suppossed to be provided by the landlord as per the terms of the lease; not your situation).

So I suggest that you get your past bill cleared up ASAP. In the alternative, maybe your landlord will agree to keep them in his name for a little longer if agree to reimburse him and possibly provide some sort of utility deposit.


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