Can water be shut off if Tenant is delinquent? - Posted by Tim

Posted by Millie I. on March 14, 1999 at 01:49:41:


Yes John, the court is the one that issue the order to garnish someone’s paycheck. But of course, you will have to file the claim with the eviction, or through Small Claims Court. That is done every day.

Millie I.

Can water be shut off if Tenant is delinquent? - Posted by Tim

Posted by Tim on March 13, 1999 at 23:41:11:

The tenant/buyer has not paid his water bills for 5 months.
Now, he is not paying his rent either on a house he lease/optioned from me. Ultimately I am responsible for the unpaid water bill even though per the l/o contract he was to pay for his utilities.
I started the eviction process, and I do not want to pay for his water bill either. If I don’t pay the water bill the water will be shut off .This will possibly accelerate his move out date. Can I have the water shut off by not paying his water bill?
Thanks for responses

Here is a twist… - Posted by Bo (GA)

Posted by Bo (GA) on March 14, 1999 at 12:39:23:

I had a tenant a while ago with whome I had a similar problem: The tenant moved in to my house, transferred all the utilities EXCEPT the water/sewer. As the account was previously in my name when the house was empty, the bills kept coming to me. I discussed this with my tenant who always had some excuse to why it hadn’t been done, but paid me for the water bills instead. I called the County Water/Sewer department (in Georgia) to ask what would happen if I did not pay my tenant’s (my rental house’s) water bill, and they said NOTHING! The water/sewer will NEVER be turned off, not on the account holder’s request and NOT EVEN for non-payment. Instead the charges will accrue and a lien will be filed against the house! So… if a tenant does not want to pay the sewer/water bill, they can not be forced to, and as a landlord I may not even know what has happened, unless I specifically check their water/sewer account status when they move out, assuming that they at least transferred the account to their name. Otherwise, the first time I will notice is when I try to sell the house!

Anyway, I now, as my SOP, always check the status of my tenant’s water’sewer account BEFORE i give deposits back.

.02 cents worth of ramblings.

Bo (GA)

Re: Can water be shut off if Tenant is delinquent? - Posted by BRnBA

Posted by BRnBA on March 14, 1999 at 01:18:57:

Generally, if the account is in your name you can but if it is in the tenants name you can not however, each state is different and you should ask a local attorney. What I can get away with as a landlord in Oklahoma and what you can in (wherever) are two different matters. It can even be handled differently from county to county depending on the judge so I would check with a local attorney as to your rights in this matter. Don’t assume anything…

Re: Can water be shut off if Tenant is delinquent? - Posted by Millie I.

Posted by Millie I. on March 14, 1999 at 24:05:32:


If the contract says he should pay for the water, then it is his problem. Do not order the Water Dept. to shut off the water, the tenant could report you to the Health Dept. Let the Water Dept shut him off for non-payment. You can always pay the bill after the tenant left, and then take him to Small Claims Court. It might take forever, but unless he pays you back, he can’t win the case. Let the court garnish his paycheck.

Millie I.

Re: Can water be shut off if Tenant is delinquent? - Posted by John Katitus

Posted by John Katitus on March 14, 1999 at 01:38:18:

I agree completely. Please note, however, that the court will not garnish him. First, you take him to court over the water bill, unpaid rent for the time the unit is not rented, and any other costs to you as a result of his tenancy. These will probably be far in excess of the water bill. After the court awards you a judgement, it’s up to you to submit the papers to garnish his wages and bank accounts, which is fairly easily done. Maybe if you let him know at some strategic time that you intend to do this (don’t mention garnishing bank accounts or he will move them), it will give you some leverage. And get a three day eviction notice on his door. Good Luck.