From the BiggerPockets Blog

 BiggerPockets Blog »

Jump to Forum View All

Click a category below to view different forum categories.


General Info

BiggerPockets Q&A, Site Questions, & Announcements

1522 topics, 14441 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:10PM

BiggerPockets Exclusive PRO Area

117 topics, 841 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:28AM

New Member Introductions

10994 topics, 86660 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:13PM

Real Estate Success Stories

400 topics, 6219 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:12PM

General Real Estate

General Real Estate

Buying & Selling Real Estate

5998 topics, 47269 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:13PM


651 topics, 5873 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:20PM

Get Foreclosure Help - Help Stop Foreclosure Forum

317 topics, 2561 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:28PM

Home Owner Association (HOA) Issues & Problems Forum

238 topics, 1611 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:02AM

Do it Yourself

660 topics, 6333 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:46PM

Reviews & Feedback

Real Estate Deal Analysis and Advice

3716 topics, 29808 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:17PM

Real Estate Guru, Book & Course Reviews and Discussions

1140 topics, 11614 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:27PM

Ask About A Real Estate Company

743 topics, 7348 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:12PM

Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Strategies


5643 topics, 43993 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:06PM

Rehabbing and House Flipping

3354 topics, 31111 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:45PM

Real Estate Development & New Home Construction

554 topics, 4695 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 06:22AM

Innovative Strategies

705 topics, 6044 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 04:06PM

Tax Liens, Notes, Paper, & Cash Flows Discussion

869 topics, 6700 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:46PM

Rent to Own a.k.a. Lease Purchase, Lease Options

700 topics, 4961 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 11:26AM

1031 Exchanges

143 topics, 1063 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 11:10AM

Foreclosure Investing

General Foreclosure & Pre-Foreclosure Forums

1692 topics, 11317 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 09:26PM

HUD, VA, and Tax Sales

416 topics, 3103 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 02:29PM


1217 topics, 10604 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 07:13AM

Short Sales

1539 topics, 13154 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 08:25PM

Landlord & Tenant Forums

Landlord & Rental Property Questions

7258 topics, 71267 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:18PM

Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Park Investing

639 topics, 5146 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 05:13AM

Investor Basics

Starting Out

7737 topics, 60715 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:04PM

Investor Psychology

434 topics, 6119 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:14PM

General Real Estate Investing

4731 topics, 37332 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:34PM

Real Estate Investor Marketing

1740 topics, 14164 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 01:46PM

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Investing Forum

1414 topics, 9022 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:12PM

Multi-Family and Apartment Investing

1123 topics, 9405 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:21PM

The Business of Real Estate

Real Estate Technology and the Internet

Real Estate Technology, Social Media & Blogging

645 topics, 4913 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 12:21PM

Business Basics

Goals, Business Plans & Entities

835 topics, 7594 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 12:52PM

Real Estate Finance & Legal

Financial, Tax, and Legal

Tax, Legal Issues, Contracts, Self-Directed IRA

2803 topics, 20140 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:50PM

Property Insurance

312 topics, 2059 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 10:22AM

Personal Finance Discussion

330 topics, 2754 posts — Last Post 04/22/14, 12:06PM

Loans, Mortgages, Credit Lines

Private & Conventional Lending Discussion

2853 topics, 19854 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:15PM

Creative Real Estate Financing

1221 topics, 8870 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:19PM

Crowdfunding Real Estate

35 topics, 463 posts — Last Post 04/19/14, 06:24PM

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Agents

1218 topics, 8051 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 01:43PM

Bankers, Lenders, and Mortgage Brokers

442 topics, 1931 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 09:04PM


268 topics, 1689 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 01:14PM

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate Networking & Recommendations

2020 topics, 11766 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:33PM

Americans & International Real Estate

162 topics, 572 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:31AM

Foreigners Buying in the USA

62 topics, 409 posts — Last Post 04/10/14, 06:27AM

Canadian Real Estate

66 topics, 440 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 05:54AM


Real Estate Marketplace

Real Estate Marketplace

15096 topics, 54161 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 04:10PM

Real Estate Events and Happenings

168 topics, 2617 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:26PM


Off Topic


2908 topics, 32448 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 03:32PM

Housing News & Real Estate Market

922 topics, 8397 posts — Last Post 04/24/14, 02:57PM

BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing Summit

97 topics, 1752 posts — Last Post 04/23/14, 04:51AM

BiggerPockets Resources

Forums » Starting Out » Turning off utilities on a tenant

Turning off utilities on a tenant

9 posts by 7 users


This topic has been locked by an administrator.

Real Estate Investor · Leander, TX

Hello All,
If the utilities are seperate from the rent and the tenant has not switched it over as they stated they did(what, a tenant that didn't tell the truth?) - am I legally allowed to have it turned off?
I have a house in Texas and the utilities are current on under my name. Thanks.

Residential Landlord · Indianapolis, Indiana

Probably not. If you turn off utilities it is usually considered a self help eviction and you don't want to be involved in that. If your tenant was supposed to have had the utilities in their name, but did not get them changed over, you may be able to turn them off, but I would be very careful and check your state and local laws and contact an attorney first. I am not familiar with Texas laws on this, but I believe in Indiana if the tenant is supposed to have utilities in their name, but you continue to pay the bill, you cannot turn the utilities off then.

It was recommended on another site, and I have added to my lease and move in practices, to have the lease state the utilities have been canceled already prior to the move in date and the tenant must get them moved into their name. I call the utility companies a day or two before the move in and confirm the tenant has had the utilities switched over to their name, if they have not, I will give the date to the utility company to have them shut off from my name and then I remind the tenants to get it transferred to their name.

I would recommend you check with an attorney familiar with your local laws to see your rights in this case, but you probably cannot turn the utilities off. So, bill your tenants for the utility charges. Hopefully your lease states payments received will be applied to all other charges before current rent, so if they do not pay, you can evict for non-payment of rent. If not, you will have a more difficult case on your hands and have to evict for breach of lease contract because they did not get the utilities in their name.

Not legal advice.

Real Estate Investor · Texas

Originally posted by Dave Poirier:
Hello All,
If the utilities are seperate from the rent and the tenant has not switched it over as they stated they did(what, a tenant that didn't tell the truth?) - am I legally allowed to have it turned off?
I have a house in Texas and the utilities are current on under my name. Thanks.

Until January 1, 2010, in Texas, you could have turned the utilities off after you served a 5 day notice. The state changed the law. Now the landlord cannot turn off the utilities for non-payment. However, I am not sure how you are going to resolve this problem. Probably as @Kyle Meyers stated, it's attorney time.

Good luck

Real Estate Investor · Texas

Real Estate Investor · Portland, Oregon

Just give 30 day notice and eat the utilities and move on. Attorneys will just cost you a whole lot more than a month of utilities.

Real Estate Investor · Bellingham, Washington

You wouldn't be able to just turn off utilities. Legal action is your best option to resolve.

Real Estate Investor · Leander, TX

Thanks to all who answered.

Commercial Real Estate Broker · Canton, Georgia

Yeah Dave you made a newbie mistake.

Seasoned tenants know these things.Here we also have a program where you can have an agreement with the power company where if a tenant leaves they automatically transfer power into the landlords name so you can work on the unit.

Otherwise you have to pay a 30 connection fee each time to turn on for the landlord.Problem is tenants call power company and say they are moving when they are not.Power company then transfers power into landlords name while the tenant is still living there.

You the landlord now find out you have a nice bill for the last 2 months.Also if it is transferred into your name and then you get it cancelled the tenants cry foul and say you turned off utilities for non-payment.If it's an emergency or elderly person then the power company will turn back on and bill the landlord here.

How I get around all of this is I do not have a landlord agreement with the power company.The power is always in the tenants name.If the power company cuts off for non payment it has nothing to do with me nor can the tenant pull a scam and say they are leaving to get put in my name because I do not have that agreement in place with the power company.

If after a tenant leaves I need to work on a unit I get it turned on and then turned off before a tenant is allowed to move in.Then it's on them to get turned on.

Never let a tenant move in while you have any utilities on in your name.I do have water and trash in our name but that is included in the rent for my apartment buildings but you wouldn't do that for a house.

Small_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: 678-779-2798 [email protected]

Landlord · York, Pennsylvania

Im in PA so I'm sure its different than Texas, but I had this happen to me over the winter. I had a tenant move in and said she put the utilities in her name, but I received two bills that totaled over $300. Her not having power in the dead of winter kept me from acting the first month, but after the second bill I said oh well. I called the electric company and they said that since I am the landlord they would stop billing me for the power starting that day and would present her with a 10-day notice to have the power put in her name or be shut off. About 15 days later she called me begging me to have the power turned back on because the electric company had shut it off... I told her it was out of my hands and she had to take it up with the electric company. She did and got the power turned back on. Now I tell the tenant they have to put the power in their name and make the call to the utility company the day they sign the lease.

[email protected]

Sign up