Landlord Question and Answer Forum

Forum / Move-Out & Eviction / Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
My tenant has been arrested for writing bad checks, has tried to sell us pain pills, and is currently being prosecuted for stealing my credit cart and purchasing $2,111.90 on it. I issued the 30 day eviction notice and the 30 days are up. She won't leave. I now have a court date to get her out. The electric company called me and said the tenants electric has been disconnected due to the tenants non-payment. (The utilities are in the tenant's name as required in the contract) They asked me if they have my permission to reconnect the power IF she pays in full including reconnection fees. They said it is my right as the land owner to deny the reconnect, so I said no--dont turn it back on . Am I doing the right thing? I know it is against the law to turn their utilities off, but I had nothing to do with it being disconnected in the first place.
Sandy C, TN on Wednesday, December 1, 2010
RE: Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
I think you might be playing with fire there. Legal issues (and there may be some) aside, having the utilities turned off is bad for the rental property, especially in winter when the pipes could freeze. I would personally finish going through the eviction process and try to get them out that way.
Posted by Renee R, MD on Thursday, December 2, 2010
RE: Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
I DID NOT have their electricity turned off. It was turned off due to their nonpayment. I only told the lady from the utility company who called me NOT TO RECONNECT since I was asked. I would NEVER cut utilities off on a tenant who has the utilities in their name --evicted or not . I agree with you though , it is probably playing with fire because all the laws seem to favor the tenant not the landlord.
Posted by Sandy C, TN on Saturday, December 4, 2010
RE: Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
Legally, I believe because the electricity is in your tenant's name in the first place; then this situation is between the electric company and the landlord. I have had tenants who have had their electricity turned off for non-payment. I have a clause in my lease, that makes it a breach not to have continual heat in order that no problems occur with damages due to the extreme cold. I do have an arrangement with the electric company to contact me to turn utitlities on. Therefore they contact me as well via mail and let me know that a ten day shut off has been issued at the property if this occurs. I do this in case a tenant skips. In answer to your question....I do not believe that this situation would come under "shutting utilites off". The tenant through non-payment has had them shut off. This is more of a failure to choose to have them turned back on. I would, however serve proper notice and start eviction IMMEDIATELY!!! Check your state for criminal procedures as well.
Posted by Donna , NC on Monday, December 6, 2010
RE: Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
Thanks for all the advice, I appreciate you taking the time to help a fellow landlord. I don't know how badly I want to be a landlord anymore if I have to face many more situations like this one. What a headache!
Posted by Sandy C, TN on Wednesday, December 8, 2010
RE: Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
I'm in North Central Florida with a similar situation except thatI have not been asked whether I want to have utilities and water turned on again. Severe freezing is forcast for the next three nights. I've had the outside fawcets drained, but have been WARNED by the tenant NOT to go inside the house without him. Currently, he is out of town for the next few days., and he is currently not living in the house; he wont remove his possessions. In the past, he has refused to let me inspect the house, even for needed repairs. I've not evicted because I don't want him/them there for 3 more months nor the hassle/expense of doing it. He can't turn on electricity without paying a total of@ $1200. If I have it turned on, he will start staying there again. He thinks that he's entitled to use up his security deposit and his last month's rent to continue staying for now. He's violated the lease in so many ways already, I feel that he has no security deposit left. Suggestions appreciated. Mary
Posted by Mary H, FL on Saturday, December 11, 2010
RE: Utilities disconnected due to tenant non-payment in Tennessee
Most states have specific rules as to "right to entry". In Michigan, we have to give in writing 24 hours notice to enter. That should also be stated in any lease you have with renters. I just evicted a tenant that I could not reach by phone or stopping by the property. I posted a notice to enter, and advised that she please have all pets put up for my safety. They had disabled the furnace and opened 7 windows. (Remember, this is Michigan in December) After advice from a landlord/tenant attorney, and due to their attempt to cause damage to the property, I posted a notice to enter every day, and every day I checked the furnace. The court date finally arrived and they were evicted. I hope that is somewhat helpful.
Posted by Marc L, MI on Tuesday, December 21, 2010
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