What are a tenant’s right if their utilities are shut off?

UPDATED: Oct 3, 2011

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What are a tenant’s right if their utilities are shut off?

I reside  in a house owned by a bank. I was behind on my rent payment. I woke up one day to find my gas cut off. I received a notice to quit, however I have not received any paper to appear in court. Is it legal for the bank to order that the gas be shut off the gas and the account closed without appearing in court first?

Asked on October 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal in every state in this country for a landlord to use self help to evict a tenant who is behind in rent. The requirement to evict a tenant who is behind in rent is typically a notice of termination of the tenancy or a notice to pay rent or quit.

The issue in your circumstances is who has the obligation to pay the utilities for the rental? You or the landlord? If it is the landlord's obligation to pay the unit's utilities, the landlord is obligated to keep them current and cannot let them go into default where they are shut off in an attempt to evict the tenant.

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