If my landlord didn’t pay the water bill and it got shut off, didn’t he break our contract?

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If my landlord didn’t pay the water bill and it got shut off, didn’t he break our contract?

I have been paying my own water bill for 2 months even though it was his responsibility. I have not paid him rent those 2 months because of that. He is just now trying to collect it. Do I need to pay him?

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Madan Ahluwalia / Ahluwalia Law P. C.

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I would double check the lease agreement and make sure that he is responsible for paying your water bill.  If it is his responsibility which you have assumed, then the rent should be deducted only for the amount of the water bill.  You can't totally stop paying rent.  Give him the rent that is owed less the two months water bill, but when you do so provide documentation of the lease agreement terms so he understands why you are paying less than the full amount owed.  Also provide documentation showing that you did, in fact, pay the water bill, along with the bills themselves.


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