QUESTION: NWhipple asked, Should I put the utilities in my name or should they remain in the landlords name and why.
Thanks NWhipple this is a good question. Tenants should put electric and other utilities in their name whenever possible.
This prevents any future confusion as to who pays an unexpected invoice during a month when heat was turned up to 85 degrees while the kitchen windows were open. The invoice you are receiving is yours.
Not the landlord; having utilities in your name will assure you are not paying the cost for another tenant’s expense.
I recently heard about an electric bill received that was over $2,000.00! The tenant was advised to first call the electric company to have them explain the invoice, and second to try to work out a payment plan if it was a legitimate bill. New Hampshire is still a live free or die state but we also don’t want you to go broke.
As an owner, communicate well with clear intentions and fix anything that you become aware of that is faulty or broken. After all, it is your property and you do want the value to increase, right? Since you have people help paying your mortgage or adding to your accounts, it is your responsibility to make sure the property is kept in good living condition.
A hearty screening process is recommended before signing a new lease and starting a new relationship, which is good advice whether you are Landlord/Landlady or looking to rent said property. If meeting new people makes you uneasy or you’re just not comfortable with the process, it’s best you work with a local Real Estate firm to help. They will collect a fee but I can guarantee that fee is cheaper and easier on your mental health than going through small claims court or worse.
Bottom line: Before you sign a lease ask questions like, are the utilities included and if not how or to whom do I pay for my utilities and how is it calculated. Don’t forget to get things in writing.
Do you have any stories you’d like to share? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your tale. I’ll answer it in my next Advice from a Landlady.