If a tenant doesn't pay the utilitie bills can it effect the landlord?
That depends... in a lot of cases city water/sewer are tied to the property which can mean that if tenant doesn't pay the property owner will be left holding the bill. Gas and electric you shouldn't have to worry about.
It depends - on the utility and where the property is located.
Some utilities can/will place a lien on the property. Water & Sewer is the primary one which comes to mind - in some areas it is always in the owners name, other allow it to be transferred to the tenant, but will place a lien on the property if the tenant does not pay.
If a tenant doesn't pay the electric bill and their electricity is turned off, it can hurt the property owner because the building will not be properly climate controlled. In the winter this could lead to frozen pipes that burst and water damage and mold. Tenants without electricity tend to use candles for light and that becomes a fire hazard. They also may try to heat the home with portable kerosene heaters or firewood, another fire hazard. Or try to cook indoors with portable a BBQ or camping stove, also a fire hazard. They may try to borrow electricity from a neighbor and run extension cords from one dwelling to another and hook the extension cord to a power strip to plug in multiple things and blow a fuse or cause a fire.
If a tenant doesn't pay the natural gas bill, some of the same things mentioned above could happen because of lack of heat and lack of fuel for the range.
If a tenant doesn't pay the garbage bill and service is stopped, piles of trash can build up and can attract insects, rodents and other vermin. Also it can stink to high heaven!
If a tenant doesn't pay the water bill and service is stopped, they won't be able to flush their toilets... phew! No water for the landscaping.... plants die.
Also, some unpaid utility bills become a lien on the property, as others have mentioned.
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