Lancaster, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Can a landlord switch your utility bill from one company to another without any notification or agreement?

I moved in my apartments 01/19/2021 in the lease agreement it states tenant has to have electric bill in the tenants name before move-in. I open my electric bill account on 01/19/2021. In the month of November 2021 I received a bill in the mail from a different utility company for the electric in the amount of $1058.79. I called the company and ask why are they sending me a bill when i have a utility provider already. They explained that my property manager said my utility provider was billing them for my electric no proof giving to anyone. I contacted my utility provider and ask why are they billing my apartments for my electric utility provider stated that my apartments forced me out of my bill on March 17 2021. Prior to all this I called my utility provider on April 16 2021 to ask why havent received a bill utility provider stated they where going through a system update and i would receive a bill after the update was complete. The property manager never notified me of anything.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It is not legal for a landlord to switch your utility bill from one company to another without any notification or agreement. If your lease agreement states that the tenant is responsible for having the electric bill in their name before move-in, then the landlord cannot unilaterally switch the utility provider without your permission. Additionally, the landlord must provide you with notice of any changes to your lease agreement, including changes to your utilities.

If your property manager did switch your utility provider without your permission, and you have not received notice of any changes to your lease agreement, you may have grounds for legal action. You should consult with a lawyer or a tenant rights organization in your area to determine what your options are. You may also want to file a complaint with your state's consumer protection agency or utility regulator.

In the meantime, you should continue to pay your utility bills as you normally would to avoid any late fees or service disruptions. Keep all documentation related to your utility bills, including bills, receipts, and any correspondence with your utility provider or property manager. This documentation will be important if you need to pursue legal action or file a complaint.

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