Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Michigan

I live in Detroit, MI. I moved into a house where the lights and gas were already on, I called to have the service transferred to my name. Due to my own stupidity, I didnt follow through to make sure the service was transferred over to my name. Three weeks ago the uitlity company came and removed the meters from my home because the lights and gas were turned on illegally before I moved into the home, I was not aware that the utilities were on illegally. I take full responsibility for the usage since the time I have been living there. Do I have to pay rent to the landlord for the days that I did not have service? If I want to move will I be able to get my money I paid for prior months, due to the illegal utilities being on?

Asked on 9/22/09, 3:28 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Brad Aldrich Aldrich Legal Services
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The issue is did the landlord know or should they have known that there was illegal usage at that property. I have seen many occasions where the landlords truly had no idea of the illegal usage because the utilities are always in the name of the tenants. Therefore if no bills are being sent to the landlord they may not have known of this issue. There is also a defense the landlord could make that you had an affirmative duty to have the utilities turned on in your name which would have prevented this situation. They may claim that you knew the utilities were being used without you having to pay for them and therefore you are the guilty party. If the landlord knew of the illegal usage then this is a different story. Aldrich Legal Services, PLLC specializes in Real Estate matters, along with Bankruptcy, Probate and Unemployment matters. If you feel that we can be of service to you please visit our website at aldrichlegalservices.com or call me, Brad Aldrich, directly at (734) 404-3000 for a free consultation.

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Answered on 9/29/09, 3:48 pm

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