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personal service cannot be made. You may want to organize withthe other tenants to pay the

electric bill. The electric provider is requied to accept payments from tenants for their portion

of any past due amounts and must issue receiptto those tenants indicating that such payments

will be credited to the landlord’s account. If youare seriously ill or the termination is scheduled

during a period of either extreme heat orld,oyou may be able to have the disconnection

postponed by contacting the utility company.

Does a landlord have to maintain utility service in a vacant apartment?

No, but a landlord may have anagreement with the utility company to have the electric,

natural gas and water srvice placed under his or her name uilt a new tenant moves in. This

will ensure that service is not interrupted. This may be especially important during the winter

months to keep water lines from freezing.

What happens if several people live in an apartment but the person whose name is on the utility bill moves out? One of the people still living in the rental unit should apply for utility service. The utility

may

require

proof

that

the

previous

customer

nlonger

lives

at

the

location.

The

utility

can

disconnect service to a new cuomer if the previous customer, who owes money on the bill,

continues to live at the address. Additionally, the previous tenant is responsible for closing the

account in his or her name and runs the risk of additional charges on the account if the services

are not canceled.

My tenants have not paid rent in several months. Can I turn off their utilities?

No. Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-14.1), a landlord who wants to force tenants to

move must go through court and follow the dispossessory process. A landlord who terminates or

suspends a tenant's utility service prior to the final judgment in a dispossessory action has broken

the law and may be subject to a fine up to $500.

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