If a tenant has not paid for water bill, can I shut off the water?

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If a tenant has not paid for water bill, can I shut off the water?

It states she is responsible for it, plus she has not paid rent for 2 months. What else can I do to get her out?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not shut off the water; landlords are generally forbidden from shutting off tenant's utilities.

If the tenant is violating her lease, whether it is a written one or an oral (often called verbal) lease, by not paying utilities, such as water, or not paying rent, your recourse is to evict her. You may file an eviction action based on nonpayment. You may also sue her for the money she owes you, and/or take it out of her security deposit after eviction. Your local courts (e.g. your county court) should be able to provide you information and sample forms for filing these actions.


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