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Can my landlord charge me for sewer, water, and garbage?

The following is an actual conversation between an Uprise RI user and our Helping Hand chat assistant. The most helpful conversations, as determined by our editors, will be showcased on our homepage, with personally identifying details removed when applicable.

Posted June 5, 2024

User: Can my landlord charge me for sewer, water, and garbage?

The Helping Hand: Could you tell me a bit more about your situation? For instance, what does your lease agreement say about utilities like sewer, water, and garbage? Knowing this will help me provide you with the most accurate advice.

User: That I have to pay for those utilities.

The Helping Hand: Got it, thanks for clarifying. In Rhode Island, whether a landlord can charge you for sewer, water, and garbage depends on what’s specified in your lease agreement. If your lease agreement states that you are responsible for these utilities, then yes, your landlord can charge you for them. However, it’s important to ensure these charges are clearly outlined in your lease. If your lease does not mention these utilities or is unclear, your landlord may not have the right to charge you without your agreement.

If you’re finding it difficult to manage these costs, Rhode Island offers assistance programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) for those who qualify. You can learn more about these programs and how to apply at Additionally, for more resources, you can contact the United Way by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting

Would you like more information on how to negotiate with your landlord or about assistance programs?

User: [Exited]

The Helping Hand is a free service provided by Uprise RI for Rhode Islanders. It uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology and vast training on RI landlord/tenant law and consumer protection to provide helpful tips and resources specific to the user's needs, at no charge. Help support The Helping Hand with a donation of any kind.