My landlord pays the water bill, but I got a shut off notice. What are my rights?

If you are a tenant and the water bill is in the name of your landlord, you have special rights under state law. Your utility is required to give you a notice at least 30 days before the service is scheduled to be shut off.  The notice must include specific language about your rights to keep the service on and stay in your home. 

What should the notice say? 

The notice you receive must have the following information:

What should I do if I did not receive the notice described above?

Do I have to provide a copy of my lease to the utility?

The utility provider is required by law to give the tenant notice to each home or apartment “reasonably likely” to be occupied by a tenant who would be affected by a utility shut off.  You have no legal obligation to provide your lease or information to the utility to be entitled to receive notice.  Failure to deliver a notice to a home or apartment reasonably likely to be occupied by a tenant is a violation of state law.

Once you receive a notice, you may need to provide identifying information and show that you are a tenant in order to continue service.

Can I become a customer of the utility instead of my landlord?

Under state law, any tenant who may be affected by a shut off of service in the landlord’s name has the right to agree to have future utility service provided in the tenant’s name if the utility can provide that service (typically, if the tenant’s dwelling is individually metered).  Inquire directly with the utility for information on how to apply for service in your name.

Can my landlord call the utility and have the service shut off?

No.  The same rules that apply to the utility when the landlord doesn’t pay apply if the landlord wants to have the service turned off.  The utility must still provide the 30 day notice and information about the tenant’s rights to continue service.

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