When renting Condos and Single Family Homes landlords usually don’t pay for any of the utilities (except for condos, which the Landlord pays the HOA dues which cover some utilities).
For Residential Income Properties (2-4 units) and Apartment buildings (5U+) it’s a different story. Landlords usually pay at least a few of the utilities with these properties. Water + Trash are the most common utilities paid by the landlord since most income properties in Los Angeles are on a Master Water Meter and not separately metered. The cost to install a water submeter is quite prohibitive at about 20K, and water is cheap, so most landlords never bother to upgrade to separate water meters.
Advice from experience: I recommend to put a stop service request on all utilities that are to be paid by the tenant prior to their move in. That way, you ensure that the utilities are put under the tenant’s name (at least if they want to use them) and you don’t have to pay for them.
Expert Tip: Most public utility companies have a “Landlord Account” you can set up. You should consider setting up a Landlord Account for all your investment properties. The two main utilities to set up landlord accounts in Los Angeles are Electricity and Gas. Landlord accounts save time and effort. When a tenant turns off their utility service, instead of disconnecting the Electricity or Gas, the service is left on and automatically transferred back to your landlord account- so you don’t have to start service again.
One last point I’d like to mention about utilities is that there is a lot of research that shows when a tenant pays their own utilities, they use about 20% less than when the landlord is pays for them. So if you can have the tenant pay for their own utilities that is always best.
ELECTRICITY & GAS