Can landlord make us pay for utilities after we move out?

Dear Consumer Ed:  

Our apartment lease is up at the end of this month, but our landlord is requiring that we leave the utilities on for five days after our lease expires for the move-out inspection. Can they require us to pay for utilities almost a week beyond the end of our lease?

Consumer Ed says:

There is no Georgia law that requires you to pay to keep the utilities on after the termination of your lease. What’s more, according to Georgia law, a move-out inspection must take place within three days of the termination of the lease and vacation of the premises. That means that even if the landlord could force you to pay for utilities after the lease was up, the longest he or she could do so would be three days.

Since there is no law that specifically addresses paying for utilities after the lease has been terminated, your lease and supplemental documents will govern this situation. If this subject is not addressed in the lease, then the landlord cannot force you to keep the utilities on for that week. However, if there is a provision in the lease allowing for this practice, then within the limitations of the law, you might have to pay for utilities, but for no more than three days. 

For additional information about landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities, see the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ website.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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