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I have been a tenant for the past 6 months, and am responsibile for paying for utilities myself and have them setup under my own name. I chose not to sign up for garbage service, as it is cheaper to take it to the dump myself.

I was just contacted by the property management company informing me I owe 6 months past due balance on trash service, in which the account is not in my name nor did I want this service. Obviously I want to dispute this... in my lease the utilities clause is as follows:

Utilities. Lessee shall be responsible for arranging for and paying for all utility services required on the premises, except that None shall be provided by Lessor.

There was no mention of garbage being a required utility, nor is it required in my county.

Looking to see what my options are here and if I infact do have to pay this past balance

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    Where do you read that trash service is not required in your county? What state/county? Is this for a house? An apartment in a building? – BlueDogRanch Nov 20 '18 at 22:35
  • Note that if you are within the judicial limits of a city, that city may also have its own trash collection requirements. For example, in my hometown, trash collection is a) required and b) billed through the city for a single city-monopolized company. – sharur Nov 20 '18 at 22:41
  • @BlueDogRanch Spokane county, WA. I do not live within city limits, and it's for a house – David Nov 20 '18 at 22:45
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See Curbside Pickup | Spokane County, WA:

Residents who live in areas without access to these service providers can self-haul waste and recyclables to any of three transfer stations in the County.

So it would appear that there may be a county law that requires you to use a garbage service if you are within one of the service areas. I couldn't track down the exact county law, so check the county site and call the county and find out. If you are required to use trash pickup, that's why it is in the lease, and the property management company is simply following county law, and you have no recourse except to contest the law with the county.

If county law does not require you to use garbage pickup, and you can use "self-haul", than the point of contention is the phrase in the lease "all utility services required on the premises." You can try and negotiate with the property management company over the interpretation of that phrase and if it includes garbage pickup. Failing that, you will need to go to court to contest the phrase in the lease and requirement to get curbside trash pickup. But, you signed the lease, and presumably read it before you signed it, so you may not have much luck in court.

  • Garbage service wasn't mentioned in the lease. And nothing in the page you cited suggests that people who are in those services areas are required to use those services. (The suggestion to check with the county if garbage service is required is a good one.) – David Schwartz Nov 20 '18 at 23:05
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I don't see any reason why you would. Nothing required you to have garbage service, you never ordered garbage service, and your contract explicitly says that you are the one who arranges such services. Unless the landlord can demonstrate that garbage service was in fact required, there is no reason you should pay for it.

I would suggest responding in writing to your landlord informing them that you did not contract for garbage service and that it is not required. Quote that section of your agreement. Ask if it's their position that garbage service is required and, if so, how they reach that conclusion.

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