Utility termination on behalf of tenant

Hi Folks,

We recently discovered that the natural gas line serving our property runs underneath several mobiles. We were told that you can’t have people living on top of a gas line, so rather than move the mobiles and lose the lots, we are having the gas company shut down the gas service and cap the pipe.

The gas company (engineering dep’t) is prepared to come out and shut off the gas as soon as all the meters are removed. The meters are removed as soon as the tenant calls customer service to close their account.

We are paying for all of our gas-based tenants to switch over to propane (or convert to electricity) but one tenant refuses to close her account. We have now served a notice of non-renewal of her lease (she is on month-to-month) and we presumably can get her out in 60 days, but we’d like to get the gas thing done ASAP.

Does anyone have experience with getting around the fact that the utilities are in the tenants’ name and we can’t just cancel on their behalf? We’re the landlord, and it makes sense that we should be able to decide if we are going to offer/allow certain utility providers but customer service isn’t going to cancel without the tenant’s say-so, and engineering won’t take the meter away unless the tenant has cancelled. It seems like we should be able to sign something saying we are the landowners and have it done anyway, but I can’t seem to find out how that would work.

Any thoughts?


Everywhere I am aware of it is illegal for a landlord to deny a tenant essential services. Landlords are not allowed to cut off heat, water, hydro, gas etc. Maybe it’s different where you are though.

Dear Greg,

I agree with what you are saying, but I would say that we are not “denying” and it isn’t “essential” since we have offered to pay for replacement services and there is an alternative available (propane, in this case). Also, this arrangement applies to all tenants equally (we are not singling anyone out, it’s just that we have one holdout). The alternative is a code violation/health and human safety issue. I can’t see how one tenant can force us to be in code violation but I don’t see how to get around it either.

Maybe the fire marshall can issue a warrant to shut down the gas (which is what we want)?

I think I remember hearing Frank talk about a park which had leaky gas lines that had to be replaced ASAP. Did any of the tenants have any issues in that case?



I would think if it was a safety or code issue then possibly the marshal or building inspector could step in and order her to comply. It’s got to be faster than evicting however is this possibly a opportunity to get rid of a persistent problem tenant. Tenants that take a stand like this are usually long term problems that are better to be rid of.