Does a Township Need a Resolution to Impose an Unpaid Utility Bill on a Property that is Rented by a Tenant? > Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes
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Does a Township Need a Resolution to Impose an Unpaid Utility Bill on a Property that is Rented by a Tenant?

March 2020

It depends on the type of utility service. Presumably you are referencing unpaid water and sewer services.  Under certain circumstances, a Township may not place liens on properties for unpaid water and sewer services if tenants pay a property’s water and sewer bills. The Township cannot place liens on properties for unpaid water and sewer services if: (1) the landlord (who is the property owner) and tenant have a lease stating the landlord is not liable for paying water and sewer bills; and (2) the landlord files an affidavit regarding the lease language with the Township. See MCL 141.121; MCL 123.165. Once a landlord files the affidavit with the Township, the Township can no longer file liens for water and sewer services which occurred after the landlord filed the affidavit. The landlord exception above is narrow. If a landlord did not file an affidavit with the Township or if a landlord  does  not  have a  lease  with  their  tenant containing language regarding  water  and  sewer bills, the Township can still place liens on a landlord’s property. Nothing in the applicable statutes noted above requires a resolution, although adopting a Township policy on addressing delinquent utility bills would be prudent.

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