I contacted the electric company yesterday to switch the utility to my name after my tenant moved out. Despite having very good credit, they stated they are now charging landlords a $359 deposit to have service in their names. After stating my case for how ridiculous that concept was, I agreed to pay it thinking I would get it back in a few weeks when the new tenant moves in. She then informed me that their new policy is to keep a landlord's deposit until they sell the home. My immediate reaction to her was "I won't be selling this home for 30 or 40 years!!" Not only is this the most unethical practice I have ever heard, but can you imagine how much less my $359 will be worth in 30 to 40 years?? Speaking from a common sense point of view, I just can't imagine this is legal. Any thoughts or ideas of how to approach this would be much appreciated.
The only luck I've had dealing with utility companies was after contacting the state agency that regulates them with a formal complaint. Our state has an online submission form. Both times, just having that agency contact the utility - once gas, once electric -- the issue was solved in my favor within days.
Is it a service where it will automatically switch into your name when tenant vacates? if so, I think its understandable to take a deposit. that being said, it should be held only for a year or two not indefinitely. I like Lynn's idea of filing a formal complaint
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