My property management company failed to bill several thousand utilities to the tenants. And the tenants already moved out. Could I hold the management company responsible for this? Need some legal advice. Thank you!
Talk to a local attorney.
@Scarlett Tao what does the property management agreement say about utilities and who's responsible for managing them?
This is what can happen when an owner goes with the cheapest PMC or the one with the shortest contract (that they thought was the easiest to understand).
@Scarlett Tao 1) contact an attorney if you're looking for recourse and 2) check your PM agreement. Probably #2 before #1 so you don't waste money on an attorney if it is not spelled out as the PM's responsibility in the management agreement.
This is a specific duty in our management agreements. Some owners say they will handle "utility transfers" on their own. Most owners of ours leave the job to us, however. In this scenario we 1) transfer utilities back to the owners name when a tenant moves out and 2) bill the tenant for utilities that remain in the owners name after the tenant takes occupancy.
Utility transfer/billing is VERY cumbersome. We have a full time employee for this one duty alone across the 1,500 doors we manage in St. Louis. If you are with a smaller PM (1-5 employees) then it wouldn't surprise me if they are not providing this service.
Typically, the owner's name will remain on sewer which will then need to be billed back to the tenant. Depending on the municipality, the same may apply for water.