If utilities are shared by2 domiciles and paid equally by both parties, can the utilities be controlled by the party who’s name the utilities are in?

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If utilities are shared by2 domiciles and paid equally by both parties, can the utilities be controlled by the party who’s name the utilities are in?

Now Party 1, who’s name the utilities are in, wants to increase expenses to Party 2, and intends to cut off utilities to Party 2 if she does not comply. Are there legal consequences for this action? No written agreement exist between the parties. The agreement to share equal expenses was done verbally.

Asked on April 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, depending on the amount of utilities, a verbal agreement may not be binding based on the statute of limitations. If two families live under the same roof (not clear from your question), then whomever is on the utility is the responsible party and whatever separate agreement you have verbally may not be binding if you haven't performed on it yet. I assume since there is a threat of shutting off utilities to the second party, this is either a duplex or similar living situation. If so, consider getting the utilities placed in your name. Simply contact the utility company, explain what is happening and have them come out and see if it can be done. If the other party owns the duplex, the utility company and the agency that handles landlord tenant matters may both have to get involved.


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