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AVOIDING DEPOSITS FOR UTILITIES

Paying utilities is usually part of the whole renting experience. However, this is not always the case. There are some landlords that will pay the utilities so all the tenants are in charge of is the rent. This is often the case in complexes where it can be hard to determine the utility features anyway. If you do not have to pay for your own utilities then this is a big plus as paying for water, electricity and heat every month can add up to around $200 per month or even more.

One of the instances where you shouldn't be in charge of paying for the utilities is if you are in a complex where there is a shared unit. If all of the electricity is measuring under the same device then it is against the law to ask your landlord to split the utility bill however many ways. What this means is that you could be paying for the electricity used by your neighbor and this is not right. If you are asked to do this on your rental lease agreement, then contact a lawyer as this is against the law.

In most instances when you are renting out a house or single unit dwelling then paying for the water, the electricity, etc, will fall under your responsibility. The only time when this might not be the case is if your landlord has the bills set up in his name. Then he might agree to continue to pay each for each tenant but he may charge a little more for the rent each month to make up for the amount of electricity and water that you are using.

Utilities and Leases

When you sign a lease and move in you will need to set up the water and electricity by contacting the appropriate authorities. A phone call is all it takes and then you will need to give them your details. You can often choose how you want to pay the bill, such as monthly or quarterly. Make sure you factor in these costs when you are making your budget and determining how much you need each month.

Another thing you may notice when it comes to signing a lease is that there is such thing as a utilities deposit. This is similar to a damage deposit but pays for damage to any utilities. This is not a super common thing like a damage or even pet deposit. After all, if the plumbing starts failing, then this is the landlord's responsibility, not the tenants.

If you are asked to pay a utilities deposit as well as a damage deposit, then it might be a good idea to contact a real estate lawyer and get their legal advice on what this entails and whether it is valid. Normally you will only need to pay one when moving into a new rental agreement.

If you do notice that something seems off with any of the utilities, such as the air conditioner, the furnace or the water, then contact your landlord or property manager right away. Often a minor problem can easily be repaired with minimal expense and before the situation turns even worse. Even funny noises, leaking facets or dirty water should be reported immediately.

Avoiding deposits for utilities is not always possible just like avoiding paying for your electricity and water is not always possible. However, if you are ever unsure about anything then make sure you contact a real estate lawyer before agreeing to the terms on the lease. Furthermore, if there is ever an issue with the utilities, contact your landlord as soon as possible.

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