What happens if a homeownershares their house with a tenant and then charges the tenant for all utilities?

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What happens if a homeownershares their house with a tenant and then charges the tenant for all utilities?

Homeowner rented the house, but there was no lease agreement. Now she has moved back into the house and has drafted a lease agreement stating that me, as tenant, would be responsible for rent and all utilities (even though all utilities are in her name). What should I do or what can I do? House is being rented without an occupancy permit.

Asked on April 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Leave aside the issue of the occupancy permit for the moment, because if you "play that card," so to speak, you'll have to move out--rental won't be allowed. So it does not help you rent the place on favorable terms.

Apart from that, if you did not have a written lease, you were a month-to-month tenant. A month to month tenancy may be terminated or altered by the landlord on one month's notice (though only going forward; not for previous months). The landlord could therefore give you notice that you have to pay for the utilities, and if you won't, she may evict you. The fact that the utilities are in her name does not mean you can't be expected to pay for them--it just means that in the event of nonpayment, the utility goes after her (though she might then, if you agreed to pay but did not, be able to go after you).


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