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Is it a crime to cut off the electricity to a tenant who does not pay?

How to turn off your tenant's light without going to jail.

Criminal law
Is it a crime to cut off the electricity to a tenant who does not pay?

In today's post we are going to answer this question.

One of the fundamental reasons why the owner can reach this extreme measure of cutting off the electricity to his tenants is because they stop paying rent for a long period of time. It should be emphasized that in this situation, the most convenient thing is to go to the judicial system to process the eviction, although this is a slow process.

For this reason, some owners decide to take the fastest measure in order to get renters to leave the house, which would be to cut off supplies.

What they do not know is that making this decision can lead to consequences.

Article 2 of the urban leasing law establishes that housing leases will be those that fall on a building that can satisfy the tenant's permanent need for housing, so if the supply is cut off, they would cease to satisfy the need and it would hardly be possible. to live. Therefore, if the dwelling does not meet the necessary habitability requirements, the rental contract would cease to exist since it does not meet the housing needs of the tenant.

Therefore, the landlord cannot turn off the electricity to the tenant who does not pay. In the case of doing so, it can be considered a crime of coercion regulated in article 172.3 of the Penal Code, since there are legal mechanisms to claim the invoices, the courts appreciate coercion when the landlord does not go to the legal mechanisms and unilaterally decides to put pressure with the power outage. The tenant's complaint will be necessary to prosecute the crime.

However, there are different situations regarding liability.

When the parties to the contract have agreed that the holder of the contract is the tenant, the latter will be responsible for paying the supply. This means that if he stops paying the electricity bills to the company and it cuts off his electricity as a consequence, he will not be able to claim anything from the landlord.

On the other hand, if the owner of the home is the holder of the supply contract and the tenant is only responsible for paying the landlord for consumption, the responsibility of making the home habitable remains in the hands of the owner, so they cannot stop paying electricity or cancel the service.

The difference between one assumption and another is about who assumes the responsibility that the house meets the necessary conditions of habitability. In the first case the tenant and the second the landlord.

The most advisable thing from the point of view of the owner is that the rental contract specifies that the tenant assumes the payment of the supplies or put him as the owner in the supply company.

Now that you have all the information at your disposal, if you have any problem with your tenants, do not hesitate to contact Audacia Abogados.

Criminal law

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