Can an executor of an estate have the water shut off if someone is living there and paying the mortgage?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Portland, OR

My brother lived with my father before he passed and is still in the home. My sister, the executor of the will, had the water shut off. My brother has two Veterans as roommates and has been paying the mortgage and the utilities.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Conrad G Hutterli


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A person appointed by the court as the personal representative of an estate has the same authority that a property owner would have in dealing with the property in the estate. The bottom line is if a regular property owner does not have the authority to do something, then the personal representative does not have the authority to do that either. If a regular property owner has to use a particular legal procedure to deal with a problem, then the personal representative does, too. The personal representative in your situation needs to talk to an attorney familiar with Oregon FED and ejectment law in order to make sure that whatever needs to be done is done properly.

  2. Troy Austin Pickard

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr. Hutterli is right - the executor of the estate just temporarily takes on some of the duties and rights that your father had.

    I think the question here may be whether your brother and his roommates qualify as "tenants" under the Oregon Landlord Tenant Act. If they do, then this executor has broken the law by shutting off their water. Your brother and his roommates should hire a landlord-tenant lawyer to help them figure out their rights.

    Portland Defender
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  3. Diane L Gruber

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have not stated whether or not the "exector" has been appointed by the court. If not, he/she has no authority. If he/she has been appointed, I agree with the previous attorney.

    Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662.... more
  4. Joanne Reisman

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I agree with my colleagues - the executor needs to be court appointed before they have power to direct the affairs of the estate. People living in the house that were there with the decedent's permission probably at the very least have the right of a month to month tenant that they have to be formally evicted. Utilities such as water or electricity usually need to be put in the name of the tenant so the tenant is responsible. Not sure what the rules would be in this situation which but since the occupants are paying the mortgage and utilities I don't see why there is a need to shut the water off unless it is an improper attempt to evict the current tenants. Best to get an attorney involved and get this mess straightened out properly. Also it would probably be a good idea to check and see what the last recorded deed for the house says. If there is a deed that has your brother on it with your father with the right of survivorship, it may be that your brother now owns the house.

    The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what... more

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Probate is the legal process for proving a will valid or invalid, appointing an executor, and distributing estate assets according to the will or state law.

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