If my tenant is behind on rent and the water bill which is in my name, can I turn off their water?

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If my tenant is behind on rent and the water bill which is in my name, can I turn off their water?

What legal course of action can I take against them? Such as lien, garnishment of wages or something, changing locks in the mean time, repairs to make their lives inconvenient.

Asked on January 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Oh my goodness.  Listen, you can not do any of the things that you mention here or you will be in big trouble.  The courts will even abate - reduce - their rent if there are no services.  You need to do things legally and take them to court for back rent and sue them to enforce the payment of the water bill or pay it yourself and then sue them for the money under the lease.  You are opening yourself up to a whole host of legal consequences - civilly and probably criminally - if you do not tone it down.   


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