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Utility bill payments (new law)

Published (5/16/2008)
By Brian Hogenson
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Tenants can restore utility service by paying outstanding utility charges that would otherwise be the responsibility of the landlord, as a result of a law signed by the governor May 15.

According to Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), who sponsors the law with Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL-Harris), the law was put in place to solve the problem of landlords leaving their tenants without heat or electricity. Gunther said the problem has predominantly been in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

If a residential building has less than five units, the law allows tenants to become the customer of record and the responsible bill payer for the utility account. If the residential building is single metered, other tenants in the building may contribute payments to the utility company or municipality on the landlordís account or the account of a tenant who is the customer of record.

The law takes effect Aug. 1, 2008.


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