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I have a question about constructive eviction in Utah. Suppose…

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I have a question about constructive eviction in Utah.

Suppose a tenant hasn't paid her water bill in months and the city will shut it off for non payment. The tenant's attorney is telling her that the landlord has to pay for her past due water balance or it could be considered constructive eviction for "turning the water off."

I find this to be hogwash. If the tenant owed six months of power and gas bills and the city shut off her power and gas for non payment I find it really hard to believe the landlord would have to pay her past due bills or it would be considered constructive eviction.

If it can be shown that the tenant is fully responsible for the water balance and didn't pay it, how can it be constructive eviction?

In Utah municipalities, the city water has to be in the owner's name for billing, but they will let the tenant pay the bill Is that the catch here?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 8 hours by:
3/14/2012
Lawyer: N Cal Atty, Attorney replied 6 years ago
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 9,882
Experience: I've represented both landlords and tenants.
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Is there a written agreement that the tenant is responsible for paying the water bill?
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Yes, the tenant is responsible for utilities.
Lawyer: N Cal Atty, Attorney replied 6 years ago
If the tenant agreed in writing to pay the water bill, the tenant cannot claim constructive eviction if the water is shut off because the tenant did not pay the bill.

Here is a Utah statute that addresses this:

57-22-3. Duties of owners and renters -- Generally.
(1) Each owner and his agent renting or leasing a residential rental unit shall maintain that unit in a condition fit for human habitation and in accordance with local ordinances and the rules of the board of health having jurisdiction in the area in which the residential rental unit is located. Each residential rental unit shall have electrical systems, heating, plumbing, and hot and cold water.
(2) Each renter shall cooperate in maintaining his residential rental unit in accordance with this chapter.
(3) This chapter does not apply to breakage, malfunctions, or other conditions which do not materially affect the physical health or safety of the ordinary renter.
(4) Any duty in this act may be allocated to a different party by explicit written agreement signed by the parties.
From
http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE57/htm/57_22_000300.htm

My opinion is that a constructive eviction has to result from an act or failure to act by the landlord. The tenant cannot destroy a property and then claim constructive eviction.

I hope this information is helpful.
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 9,882
Experience: I've represented both landlords and tenants.
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Lawyer: N Cal Atty, Attorney replied 6 years ago
Thank you for accepting my answer.
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