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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 30, 2017 10:23 AM
From: Representative Dan Moul
To: All House members
Subject: Foreign Load Package
In the near future I plan to introduce two pieces of legislation to change the responsibilities of landlord and tenant when foreign load is present in rental property.

Utility service usage registered on one tenant’s meter but used by another tenant or common area of a rental unit is called foreign load. Title 66 (Public Utilities) currently requires that any time a tenant’s utility meter registers usage outside of the tenant’s unit, even if it is only a single lightbulb, the utility account is transferred into the landlord’s name until such time as the appliance is removed from the meter. Upon transfer of the account, the landlord becomes responsible not only for all of the tenant’s usage going forward but also for any outstanding balance on the account at the time of transfer.

This is unreasonable and produces an unduly harsh result to landlord’s who provide lighting or appliances in common areas for the convenience or safety of tenants. My legislation will allow a landlord and tenant to enter into an agreement whereby the tenant agrees to be responsible for payment of utility usage related foreign load registering on the tenant’s utility meter. It will also allow a public utility to bill a tenant for foreign load, upon execution of an agreement between the landlord and tenant and notification to the utility.

Document #1

Introduced as HB1032

Description: This is the first bill in the package which amends the Landlord Tenant Act of 1951 to permit a landlord and tenant to contractually agree that the tenant will be responsible for the payment of foreign load registering on his utility meter. Any agreement between a landlord and tenant must be in writing and signed separately from other signatures that may be required by the lease.  Upon execution of an agreement, the landlord will be responsible for notifying the applicable utility of the contract with instructions that if the service is to be discontinued for any reason, that the bill should be placed in the landlord’s name.  This bill maintains necessary protections for tenants from unscrupulous landlords while preserving the ability of a tenant to contractually agree to have foreign load register on his utility meter in exchange for a rent reduction or other benefit, as specified in the agreement.

Document #2

Introduced as HB1031

Description: This is the second bill in the package which will amend the Public Utility Code (Title 66) to allow a landlord, following execution of a contractual agreement with the tenant, to notify the applicable public utility of the agreement and that if service to the account is discontinued, for any reason, the account shall be placed in the landlord’s name. The landlord will be responsible only for usage registering on the meter after the date of transfer. My bill maintains necessary protections for tenants from unscrupulous landlords and minimizes a public utility’s involvement in a private contractual agreement between a landlord and tenant.