PGW working with landlords to stop tenants from running up debt

Landlords often get caught by surprise when their tenants’ utilities are shut off due to unpaid bills. The Philadelphia Gas Works has a new way to warn landlords.

When renters fall far enough behind on their gas bills, PGW can put a lien on the property, even though the customer who is overdue with a payment doesn’t own the property.

A commercial lien notification program is designed to give rental property owners a “heads up,” says Dan Murray, vice president of PGW customer affairs.

“What we get in return from that relationship is the cooperation from the landlord to provide access to those meters when we need them. A number of meters are located inside, and that cooperation helps us quite a bit,” he said.

The access gives PGW the ability to shut off service before the charges become excessive.

“If we gain access to the meter in a timely manner through cooperation with the landlord, our success at getting that gas shut off increases,” Murray said. “In return, we are trying to address one of the main concerns of commercial landlords, which is earlier notification of when they are in a situation when they are at risk of a lien for tenant debt.”

The program is available to property owners with a valid business privilege license, now known as the Philadelphia commercial activity license, where the natural gas service is in the tenant’s name.

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