FL 1.1: Tenant Paid Utilities


Tenants may be required to pay for utilities which provide heat and hot water if the installation for generating heat or hot water is under the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct connection from a public utility.

In practice, this means that the landlord can require a tenant to put a utility bill into the tenant's name where there is a separate heater or hot water heater for that unit and the tenant can control the production of heat or hot water.

The landlord may not require a tenant to pay a utility bill that is in the landlord's name. The landlord may not require tenants to "split the bill."

The issue of who pays for water is more complex and currently under litigation. A simple reading of the law seems to suggest that the landlord must always pay for water service; however there are conflicting Court of Appeals decisions which must be resolved by the Ohio Supreme Court. Until this issue is resolved, tenants may wish to contact an attorney for a legal opinion.

Note that "utilities" such as telephone, cable TV, cooking gas (where separately metered), and postal service are not addressed by the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.

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