Tenant refuses to pay rent after 1 month. I file 3 day, and unlawful detainer but judge doesn’t make tenant pay due to water being shut off.

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Tenant refuses to pay rent after 1 month. I file 3 day, and unlawful detainer but judge doesn’t make tenant pay due to water being shut off.

Tenant refuses to pay rent after 1 month. I file 3 day, and unlawful detainer but judge doesn’t make tenant pay due to water being shut off for part of month. My house is in foreclosure and I am filing bankruptcy. 15 day notice from PG&E. I am not collecting any rent and want to shut power off for house and live in guest cottage. I cant afford to keep paying utilities when I am not getting rent. Is this legal? I am hoping rogue tenant gets the hint and gets out. Can they force me to turn PG&E back on for the main house? Or will they make everybody move, including me?. Thank you.

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not sure exactly what the tenant's rights are, here, since I'm not a California lawyer, but it is the law in every state that water and power are essential for a place to be habitable, and that when you lease a place to a tenant, you are promising not to allow it to be less than habitable, no matter what you put in the lease.  You can't cut off water or power to force a tenant out, and the only thing I'm not sure of is what can be done about it -- against you.  I think it would be a very good idea to restore service right away.

If you want to get this tenant out, you need to talk to a lawyer and do it the right way, because anything else is a mistake that can get expensive very quickly.  To find an attorney in your area, one place you can look is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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