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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    8

    Default Who Pays Utility Bills

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Georgi

    Am I responsible for a propane bill in that is in my landlords name? I moved into a short term rental, and told the landlord that I did not want to fill up the tank because I was renting month to month and was unsure of how long I would be here. The minimum fill up was nearly $400. I told her I would use several high-quality electric heaters instead and she said thats fine. Then, before I moved in she said she was going to have it filled anyways, also stating that it was empty and $70 had to be paid to bleed the line, or something of that nature. I informed her I could not afford to pay that much and she said don't worry about it, that she would cover the cost. Later on, she asked me to pay for it. I told her I hadnt been using it, but had used electric heaters as we discussed. She got upset and told me she wanted me to pay it anyways. Not wanting to create a hostile situation, I agreed to pay $100 of it and began using the propane. I at that time found a better place to live, and gave notice. I inquired about the gas bill and she told me not to worry about it, so I didnt pay anything further. Now its time for me to move in a few days, and she came by asking for the money. I offered to pay some more of the bill over the phone by credit card, but she insisted on cash (the bill is actually in her boyfriends name). I felt very sketchy about that, and told her I dont have the cash. Plus, there is still about half the tank remaining that I wont be using.

    Our lease is handwritten, and mentions nothing of utilities. Should I worry about this coming back on me since I already paid $100 on it by phone? Is this my responsibility? I also dont feel I should be held responsible for the $70 charge for bleeding the line of an empty tank, since it was empty when I moved in. Any advice would be helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Who Pays Utility Bills

    If you agreed to pay part of the propane bill, then that's what you agreed to do. If your landlord agreed not to charge you for bleeding the tank, then that's also what was agreed.

    If the landlord is claiming that you used more than $100 worth of propane, consider measuring the content to determine how much fuel remains in the tank. That may be possible if the tank has a pressure gauge, or through measuring the temperature of the outside surface of the tank (if it's above ground).

    It sounds like you're dealing with an amateur landlord who doesn't have a lot of money, and that can be a combination that leads to a lot of problems.

    Is she holding a security deposit?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Toledo, OH
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    15,875

    Default Re: Who Pays Utility Bills

    IMO, she owes nothing for utilities, even the electric she used, or any gas used. LL should write a better lease.
    Mmm, no. Verbal agreements are enforceable.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    8

    Default Re: Who Pays Utility Bills

    What about the fact that she orginally stated she would pay for it? Then changed her mind twice? The original agreement was that I didnt want it or need it... does that not apply? All other utilities are in my name and were paid by me. She has not yet returned my deposit, because I plan to move at the end of the month, in a few days.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Who Pays Utility Bills

    If you want to try to work this out in court, assuming that's where it ends up, you'll present your version of events, she'll give hers, and the court will decide which version is more credible.

    You said you didn't want or need the fuel, then you agreed to pay $100, then you decided to use the fuel after all and complicated the prior understandings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Who Pays Utility Bills

    Okay, that makes sense. I definately don't want to go to court, I'll pay the bill first thing in the a.m. Next time I'll be more cautious to get things in writing to be clear.

    Thanks very much.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Who Pays Utility Bills

    If by "the bill" you mean $100, and that ends things with the landlord, I understand that approach as a resolution. If by "the bill" you mean the full $400, unless you're pretty confident that you've emptied the tank, I would again suggest the possibility of measuring the current level of the tank or topping up the tank rather than paying for fuel you're leaving behind.

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