The breakup of any relationship can be very stressful, especially when one person remains at the previous address. It is not uncommon to have utilities change hands and have the old party merely not pay the balances due.
If you have found that either the utility company or debt collection agency is coming after you for the debt, there are a few things you can do to ease the situation.
First and foremost, if your relationship has just ended and the bills were in your ex’s name, contact the utility company immediately to inform them you need the service changed over.
Tell them the previous party no longer lives at this address and you need new service. In addition, have your ex call to inform the company they are cancelling their service.
This will ensure that that the service is changed over as soon as possible.
If the other party has left and you have accumulated bills during that time, there may be a problem of liability, especially if they have not been there for some time.
Once they left, this should have been addressed, by your continued use of the utilities and not pay for them.
There is no guarantee that even in a court of law, you would not be held liable for the debt.
If you were residing together and the debt that is owed is back payment, you still may be held liable for a portion of the owed debt.
Since you were living in the home when this debt was accumulated, the utility has every right to expect payment from you, unless there is some type of legal document stating that you were NOT responsible for those specific bills.
If this is the case, inform the company of the issue and have the bills changed over to your name as soon as possible.
Worst-case scenario is that you will have to pay the past bills in order to keep service and then file some type of legal action against your ex to recover the funds.
Otherwise, you may not be able to get or continue service in the future.
If this is the case, you may be able to work out payment arrangements with the utility in order to keep service and pay down the balance owed.
Then, file the action against your ex to recover the funds.