Isit legal for a landlord to pass on property tax to a tenant as part of rent?

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Isit legal for a landlord to pass on property tax to a tenant as part of rent?

Every month I receive an itemized list of fees that are due for that month for rent. I noticed that there is a property tax fee included in the itemized list. Is that legal for for the landlord to do since his tenants don’t own the property?

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is completely legal, as long as this was something the tenant agreed to in his/her lease. (1) There is nothing illegal about agreeing to pay any cost (or tax, fee, etc.) for another, as consideration for a contract (leases are contracts), which includes as part of rent. (2) Leases where the tenant pays some or all of utilities, property tax, insurance, etc. are not uncommon. (3) The landlord could have simply charged you a higher rent to cover this cost, without breaking it separately--the way he does it gets to the same place, but provides you greater transparency about the cost structure.

However, if you hadn't agreed to pay either property tax specifically, or some broad category of expenses which would include property tax more generally, that would be a different story. A landlord may not unilaterally impose costs on a tenant which the tenant did not agree to (unless the lease itself contains some authority for doing so).


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