1. When you pay utilities: The landlord cannot interrupt the utilities except for repairs, construction or an emergency. If the landlord violates this, you may terminate the lease and recover from the landlord actual damages, one month's rent or $500, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees and court costs, less and delinquent rents.
2. When the landlord pays utilities: If you get a notice from the utilities company that the utility will be cut off for nonpayment by the landlord, you can:
a) Pay the utility company and deduct from your rent the amount paid. Be sure to provide a receipt for this to the landlord.
b) Terminate the lease with written notice within 30 days of when you get notice from the utility of a future cutoff or actual cutoff; you may deduct your security deposit from the rent and recover a pro rata refund or any advance rent.
c) Sue in court for actual damages including moving costs, reconnection fees, storage fees, and lost wages, along with court costs and attorney's fees.