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hjmtmd

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 

I am in Pennsylvania and a new landlord.  I have my first tenant moving out.  In the lease they are required to pay all utilities.  Upon switching the utilities back to my name, there was an oustanding balance (water and sewer bills-$670) and the companies were about to turn off the water.  The utility companies told me that I am responsible for payment since I am the owner so I paid the utilities and now I want to withold the security deposit ($250) and request reimbursement of unpaid utilities (an additional $420).  Am I entitled to do that in PA?

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #2 
The security deposit is for any damages to the unit.  That includes monetary damages such as unpaid rent or utilities you will be held liable for.  Do the regular itemized accounting of the deposit showing that you used $XXX to pay unpaid utility bills for which the utility company would hold you liable.  Send the deduction statement to the tenant as usual within the time frame allowed by your state's law.  If the damages are more than the deposit, also send a bill stating the total still due to you and give them a deadline to pay it before you file in small claims court for the other monies.  I wiothhold utiliy bills from deposits all the time.  The water company here also hold us liable for the tenant's unpaid bills.

You may want to put a clause in your lease or rental agreement stating that any unpaid balances for these will be deducted from deposits before they are returned (so they can't say they didn't know!)
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