How to deal with tenants leaving with utilities off?

Property Management Blog

No matter how alert and watchful a landlord you are, you will always encounter some bad tenants. No tenant screening system can say with guarantee that all tenants being allowed inside will turn out to be perfect tenants. You can be almost certain that your tenants will not love and care about your property as much as you do. You must learn to live with all kinds of tenants and bear the losses and damages in your stride. One act in which some tenants indulge is to leave your premises in the dark without informing you. What is worse is the fact that they leave keeping the utilities off.

Tenants could cause big problem for you

All landlords know how important it is to keep utilities on during the winter season. It helps in keeping the rental property safe and protected in many ways. You may think that turning off the utilities is no big deal and it saves money for you but when this happens in cold winter months, it can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Pipes carrying water can freeze and even burst if your tenant has turned off HVAC. It can cause a lot of damage requiring thousands of dollars on repairs. Reconnecting and fixing the plumbing can also prove to be time consuming and cumbersome for you. You must call up a plumber and the technician from your utility company to fix the problem. In short, a tenant leaving your premises on a cold, dark night and turning off the utilities can be painful and expensive exercise for you.

Ask your utility service provider to help in this regard

You can explain your problem to your utility company and ask for a program that can prevent anyone from turning the utilities off. Most utility service providers have a program where the connection is transferred back to the company whenever a tenant turns of utility or fails to pay the utility bills. By opting for this program with your utility company, you can ensure that utilities remain in operation even when your tenant accidentally or deliberately turns them off when leaving your premises. It means that there will be no damage to your pipes on account of freezing and you will be spared form fixing the damages and reconnecting the utilities. As a rental property owner, you will find that by opting for such a program, you can save a lot of money that is otherwise spent on fixing problems caused by bad tenants.

Be alert to take note of such a notice

However, there is a catch in this arrangement. You will be sent an email or a written notice by your utility company whenever one of your tenants switches off the utilities in his unit. If you forget to look at your email or the written notice gets lost in the mail box, you can lose the advantage inherent in this program. There are some bad tenants aware of this program and they would like to make sure you do not receive the notice sent by your utility company. They do this in the hope that you pay their utility bills for some time.

Therefore, it is very important to remain vigilant all the time as a landlord. Some tenants use this ploy when they are falling behind in their utility bills payments. If your property has many tenants, it is easy to lose the notice sent by your utility company. It is also possible for you to miss out or ignore the notice on account of other important work. Set up some type of reminder system to check the status of your property so that you do not miss out on these notices.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty. 

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