Q: Roommate and Electric Bill Question
If a roommate is still on the lease and moves out a month early, are they still required to pay for their portion of the electric bill even if they were not living there for that month? The roommate claims that because they were not physically living in the house for that month and not using electricity, they should not be required to pay.
A: The departing tenant seems to equate use of the premises and utilities with responsibility for payment but a party's liability is based on their contractual agreement to be bound by the terms of the lease regardless of use. If the lease requires the tenants to be responsible for utilities then all tenants should be jointly and severally liable for the rent and the utilities. Of course, at a practical level the utility bill is typically in the name of only one of tenants and that tenant is ultimately responsible for payment to the utility company.
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