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tenant refues to pay rent and oil bill
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victoriawrite
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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2008 03:29 pm
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Thank you for the info. I will look up the pay or quit notice for NY. Again thank you. This is the first time I've ever done this. I am taking care of a friend's home while he is in Iraq. He said next time he will not rent out his home.

Again Thank you.

Last edited on Thu Jan 10th, 2008 03:42 pm by victoriawrite

OH landlord
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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2008 02:18 pm
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ADVICE:  If their rent is not paid for any month, always issue a Pay or Quit notice (or unconditional quit notice, whichever your state uses) as soon as permitted by your state law.  Do not wait on this (EVER).   Never allow a tenant to use the security deposit for any rent.  You will have no money to pay for any utilities or the damages after they leave. 

Victoria, Only allow them to use the last month's rent if they put it in writing that they are vacating, that they will be out by XX/XX date, and they will return the keys on that day. You can give them a blank Intent to Vacate Notice form to fill out for you.  This way you will have proof that they intended to move (for court later, if they fail to move out.)  Demand payment for rent immediately by Pay or Quit notice if they fail to give you the vacating notice in writing.  Don't belive them when they say they will move out!  And if they fail to vacate by the end date on that Intent to Vacate Notice, do not send them notice of lease termination.  That will only buy them another 30 days (of free rent, no doubt).  Serve a perform or quit notice for holding over.  You do not want these people in your property.

Do not take the oil payment out of the security deposit in 10 days, give a Pay or Quit notice, then evict for non-payment of utilities.  Keep the deposit until they move out for damages (they may be substantial, as noted in my post to Laura below).  If they still haven't paid for the oil by the time they leave, you can subtract it from the deposit then.  You can deduct any unpaid rent, damages to the unit, unpaid utilities that you end up paying for (like oil) that were their responsibility, along with other costs if they are breaking a lease (advertising, agent fees, etc.).  You can also deduct the cost of the plumber since you would not have incurred that fee if he had gotten oil in the tank like he was supposed to, the cost of the HVAC service (see below), etc.

Laura, oil furnaces use large tanks (usually 250 gals.) of oil located somewhere on the property (usually located outside, but sometimes in the basement).  If you forget to fill them, or even if they just run very low, the furnace will no longer function.  There will be NO heat in the house at all.  Pipes will freeeze and cause major damage  and flooding to the house.  Without running oil in the oil pipes leading to the furnace, the oil pipes themselves can freeze too if it is very cold.  Running low on oil can also cause other damages than just frozen pipes.  When it gets that low in the tank, it can stir up sludge and debris in the bottom of the tank and cause it to be carried to the furnace itself.  This will plug the oil nozzle in the furnace and will require a service call from the HVAC guy to replace the nozzle and get the furncae back in working order.  Victoria, you may need to do this if the furnace doesn't run correctly after the tank is re-filled.  The HVAC guy probably will also have to replace the oil filter (again, debris).  The HVAC call will probably cost more than a service call on a gas furnace.  The unpaid oil itself will be very expensive!  (My home uses oil.  Last month's tank refill cost me $650!)  Expect a bill of this amount to fill the tank (or more since my tank wasn't empty). 

Typically in leases with units that have oil furnaces, the LL leaves the tank full for the tenant at move in.  The tenant then refills the tank and leaves it full upon vacating.  In this way, the tenant will have paid for all the oil they used while they lived in the unit.  This is equivalent to the tenant being responsible for the gas when there is a gas furnace.  The only problem is that some oil companies will not allow the tenant to put this utility in their name and the LL must keep it in his name for the life of the lease, requesting reimbursement from the tenant for each fill.  If a tenant is not used to oil furnaces, he may balk at this bill.  Looks like your tenant is an example of this.

victoriawrite
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 Posted: Wed Jan 9th, 2008 11:26 pm
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Thank you both for getting back to me.  I sent the tenant a letter by mail- certifyed and needed to be signed- stating they were late for rent, and a few other things they've done and told them they had 10 days to comply. After 10 days the lease says they have broken the agreement and that I can send a letter- certifyed- saying the lease will end in 30 days.  If they haven't paid for the oil by then can I take it ot of the security depossit? The lease says I can return the deposit less any rent. Does that include unpaid utilites? Also Do I need to get a lawyer to evict some one? They called tonight saying they would leave at the end of the month and that I could keep their last month's rent to cover this month, but they are still unwilling to pay the oil. can I use thier deposit if they decide to leave? Also, Does he owe me for having to have a plumber come out to check on the pipes?Thank you

Last edited on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 11:28 pm by victoriawrite

LandlordLaura
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 Posted: Wed Jan 9th, 2008 10:58 pm
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It looks like OH landlord and I answered your post at basically the same time and had very similar opinions...  :  ) 

LandlordLaura
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 Posted: Wed Jan 9th, 2008 10:56 pm
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Before you do anything else, read through the Landlord Tenant Laws for the State/County/City where the rental property is located to find out if utility/heating oil issues are addressed.  If not, and the Lease Agreement states that the Tenant is responsible for utilities, then the Tenant is most-likely responsible for utilities.

If I understand oil tanks correctly, the Tenant is usually responsible for refilling the tank to the original level when they move out of the property, right?  (I assume that it is similar to how a car renter has to refill the gas tank when they return the rental car...)  How could this Tenant think that the heating oil could be used and the tank not be refilled?  How will there be any heat if he/she does not purchase oil?  If you do not fill the tank, is the property subject to property damage OR will the Tenant just not have heat?

When reading through the Laws, check to see what method you are to use when notifying a Tenant that they are violating the terms of the Lease Agreement.

It is good that there was no damage done to the property due to the freezing pipes!  Thank goodness.

Let us know what you find out by doing some research...

OH landlord
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 Posted: Wed Jan 9th, 2008 10:53 pm
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He is responsible for all utilities, including the heat (oil).  It is his responsibility to check and fill the tank.  If his heat went out because he failed to do so, it is his fault.  You do not pay to put him in a hotel!  (He should ahve read his lease!)  He needs to pay the oil bill.  If the utilty company will not allow him to put the bill in his name, he can pay for it at delivery, or you have it filled and add the cost to his next rent payment (in writing).  If he fails to pay, credit any monies paid toward the oil bill, serve a Pay or Quit for unpaid rent, and move to evict.

Most leases with an oil furnace say the tank is full at move-in and the tenant must have the tank refilled prior to move out.  This way, you know they have paid for all the oil they used.


Additionally, he can be charged for his failure to keep heat in the home and freezing the pipes.  Had they caused damage, or if you had to get a plumber to thaw them, the bill should be his.

Last edited on Wed Jan 9th, 2008 10:54 pm by OH landlord

victoriawrite
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 Posted: Wed Jan 9th, 2008 06:25 pm
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I have a teant who went home for Christmas. While he was gone the oil went out. He never checked it and says he didn't know he was meant to. I told him when he moved in that there was a tank with oil in it for the heat. He would need to call to get it refilled. He never did and the pipes froze. I was able to get them unfroze with no damage, but he wants me to pay hotel for the 2 days he wasn't in the home. Do I pay? Also he refuses to change the account to his name for the fuel. He is in charge of paying utilites- it is stated in the lease. Is he allowed to not change it over to his name? He is also refusing to pay for the fill of the tank because he believed the tank was full whe he moved in. He has to pay right? He is to pay the utilites as stated in the lease. Help please


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