What If Tenant Moves Out Early And Cuts Off Utilities?

What should you do if a tenant moves out early and cuts off utilities to your rental property is the question for Hank

What should you do if a tenant moves out early and cuts off utilities to your rental property is the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not offering legal advice. If you have a question for him please fill out his form below.

Dear Landlord Hank:

If a tenant moves out of property before their 30 days is up and cuts their utilities off do I as the landlord have rights to go in that property that belongs to me and get lights cut back on to protect pipes on my property? It is winter time so heat needs to be on low. Tenant did not tell me they were leaving early and tenant has not turned in key.

-Gloria

Dear Gloria,

I hope you have a written rental agreement or lease with this tenant.

Most leases will have a clause related to utilities and say something like: The failure of the tenant to retain and pay for essential services upon notice and demand by the landlord shall constitute a material breach of the lease.

There should also be a clause relating to Right of Entry that landlord has the right of immediate entry to protect and preserve the premises.

Have you tried to contact the tenant?

I would email, text and call the tenant now and if no response post a notice on the tenants door that utilities must be turned on immediately or they will be in violation of the lease.

I would then turn on the electric to keep premises safe and change the locks. It may help to contact an attorney in your area that deals with landlord tenant law. You definitely want to protect your property.

Good luck!

Sincerely, Hank Rossi

Each week I answer questions from landlords and property managers across the country in my “Dear Landlord Hank” blog in the digital magazine Rental Housing Journal.  https://rentalhousingjournal.com/asklandlordhank/

What should you do if a tenant moves out early and cuts off utilities to your rental property is the question
Landlord Hank says, “Most leases will have a clause related to utilities and say something like: The failure of the tenant to retain and pay for essential services upon notice and demand by the landlord shall constitute a material breach of the lease. ” Contact an attorney for help.

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I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta.