New Bargersville ordinance makes property owners responsible for their tenants utility bills

BARGERSVILLE, Ind. -- Property owners in Bargersville are fighting back against a new ordinance that requires them to be responsible for their tenant's utility bills. 

The updated Town Code makes the landlord/property owner responsible for any utility bills at a home that they own.

The property owner can choose to have those bills sent to the tenants and assign the primary responsibility for paying those bills to their tenants but the property owner will be responsible for any unpaid bills and balances. 

They can also choose to include the utilities in with the rent and get an estimated total usage charge from the utility company. 

Property owner Marsha Isbell says she received a notice in April about the new ordinance, nine months after it had passed. 

Isbell says the ordinance is a hassle for property owners and will cause rent for residents to go up. 

"They passed this without any notice or public hearing," said Isbell. "It requires landlords to pay the utilities. It's a great burden to landlords in this area."

A representative from the Bargersville Utilities Department says the reason for the change is because renters were not paying their utility bills and they were getting sent to collections. 

Now, if the utility company can't collect, it falls back on the property owner. 

The ordinance states that a reduction in written off collectible accounts is beneficial to all ratepayers. 

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