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Richard - Bizlaw
Richard - Bizlaw, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10645
Experience:  Commercial and residential leases in NY & NJ & US
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I was planning to deduct sewer fees from previous tenants'

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I was planning to deduct sewer fees from previous tenants' security deposit because they didn't pay. Our signed lease states all utilities including sewer fees are tenants' responsibility. Previous tenants told me through their pro bono attorney that I didn't tell them they need to pay sewer fees, and before signing the lease I said other utilities fees were their responsibility but not sewer fees. I didn't say those at all, and in fact I've always said tenants pay all utilities (so my rent is relatively low). Previous tenants have pro bono attorney so they don't have to pay legal fees. What I should do to get the sewer fees back? Should I talk to their pro bono attorney, and how? Thank you.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will try to help you. Please remember I just report or interpret the law, so the outcome may not be what you hoped for.

Is my understanding correct that the lease says the tenant pays he utilities including the sewer fees? Does the lease also have a provision that the lease is the entire agreement between the parties? Does the lease also provide that you can recover your attorneys fees if you prevail in a dispute with the tenant? What state are you in?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks for your reply. I'm sorry I was away. Wondered if we could still continue here?

Yes we can.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks. Here are the answers to your questions:
Is my understanding correct that the lease says the tenant pays he utilities including the sewer fees?
- Yes
Does the lease also have a provision that the lease is the entire agreement between the parties?
- No
Does the lease also provide that you can recover your attorneys fees if you prevail in a dispute with the tenant?
- Yes
What state are you in?
- Nevada

You can deduct the unpaid sewer fees from the security deposit because the tenant's failure to pay them is a breach of the agreement. You are not required to verbally tell him what is in the written lease so his defense of not being told will be thrown aside by a court.

I suggest you tell the attorney that the sewer fee requirement is in the written lease. You are not required to verbally tell him what is in the written lease. The law presumes you have read and understood any contract a person signs. You should also tell the attorney that if you are taken to court and you win which you will, in addition to recovering the sewer fees you will also collect your attorneys fees and any other costs you incur in enforcing the lease.

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Richard - Bizlaw and other Landlord-Tenant Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks for the very helpful answer. I just have a couple small follow up questions. Wondered why you asked which state it is, did you need to check the state info? If so, where those info is? In the future, should I add a provision that the lease is the entire agreement between the parties? Thank you.

Every state has different laws and it is always helpful to know which state's law apply. I would add the provision that this is the entire agreement between the parties as that provision prevents someone from saying we made a different agreement verbally.

Thanks for accepting my answer.