Are landlords responsible for an evicted renter's delinquent nipsco(light and gas) bill?

My husband and I are trying to rent out our property in Gary, Indiana after evicting the renter for non-payment of rent. When we went to the electric company to get the lights and gas turned on, we were told that we had to pay the previous bill which is $785.00.

We had already paid this person's water and sanitation bill to get the water turned back on. Are we being penalized because we have property or because we live in Gary? We have already lost property because of the outrageously high cost of property taxes. If you have any information that will help us please respond. Thank you.

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Simply because you own the property does not mean you are responsible for someone Else's bills."

    That's not true. It really depends on what is lienable where you live.

    Where I live, unpaid water and sewer charges become a lien on the property itself, and it doesn't matter if a tenant or the owner incurred the charges. The municipal utility gets their money by placing a lien and then selling it at an absurd interest rate. The lien must be satisfied within 5 years or the owner of the certificate can begin forclosure proceedings. I do real estate closings, and I pay these types of liens off at closing every week.

    If I were you, I would speak with a supervisor at the power company. I once rented an apartment where the previous tenant had skipped on a rather large bill and they wanted me to pay it before the billing was put in my name. Since I thought it was absurd that they even suggested that to me, I called back and got a supervisor. I had to bring a notarized lease and ID to the power company to get the utilities in my name with no prior balance being charged to me, but they did do it.

    Maybe if you show up with the eviction papers they will do the same for you.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If the utilities were in the name of the tenants, I do not believe you have to pay the bill. But it's possible since you're the property owner you're responsible for everything on the property.

    If you do, add it to the non-payment of rent and file paperwork (with a lawyer) to get your money back. Managers who do background checks will find the lien on the tenants' records.

    I highly recommend you hire a property management company to rent this property for you. Or consider seriously putting the property up for sale. Some buyers would be interested in a Lease To Own contract, as they might not qualify for conv mortgage.

    Definitely get a lawyer, do all this by the book and chase your $$ down. It's pretty hard in 2006 to stay "hidden" long, you'll find these folks.

  • 1 decade ago

    First of all. If the utilities are in a person's name, then that is a contract between the utility company and that person, no one else has privity to that contract. (Do you as the property owner have the right to amend the utility contract on behalf of the renter or turn off the power if they don't pay?) If the utility company wishes to have additional security on the payments of such a contract then they usually request an express consent agreement between the renter and the landlord and the utility company, giving the landlord privity and making them part of and responsible on the contract in the event that the renter moves to Brazil without paying. Simply because you own the property does not mean you are responsible for someone Else's bills.

    Imagine American express calling you and telling you that they issued a card to your renter and because they applied from the unit you own and they have moved to Brazil you will have to pay for it because the originating source of the application was your property. Ask your attorney to explain how enforceability of contracts against third parties work. In my opinion you do not have to pay utilities for someone else regardless of the fact that you own the property, unless of course you had signed an express consent agreement agreeing to pay in case the tenant did not.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They can't do that to you! It was the previous rents responsibility to pay those deliquent bills. He or she should not be able to get Utilities turned on in their new/current residence without paying up the ones that they left unpaid at your home. You should find an attorney that gives a free consultation and let (at least) tell you what your options are.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The public utility companies have to publish their policies and procedures regarding nonpayment of bills. You may not be responsible depending on the law and policies. Most utility companies require a deposit up front. If they did not turn off the electricity for nonpayment of the bill and let it run up you may have a cause for legal action against the electric company.

  • 1 decade ago

    In england you wouldn't. In america ??? If it is a monopoly supplier probably best to pay with the express statement that you are making this payment because you need to re let the property not because it is your bill, then take legal advise whether you can reclaim it.

  • 1 decade ago

    the electric company wants their monies in the old days they would enter it as a lost or such but in today's world they know if they hold the landlord responsible and will not turn on the electric until paid the landlord will have to pay to get his place back on line to rent

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Nipsco Gary Indiana

  • It's because you are the ones responsible for the property.

  • Kabu
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    You have to pay it if the tenant does not. You can sue the tenant but good luck.

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