Are all property owners liable for utility bills, even if they are in just one owner’s name?

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Are all property owners liable for utility bills, even if they are in just one owner’s name?

Father in-law passed away leaving a large electric bill. If his wife and I are listed on the deed as part owners of his house and property, are we responsible for the unpaid electric bill?

Asked on July 21, 2011 Oregon

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most instances there are contracts between the utility company and the person requesting the service where the person requesting the payment is obligated for payment. For example, when a lease requires the tenant to place utilities in the tenant's name and to pay the bills.

If you and your mother-in-law were on the deed for the home, you most likely would not be responsible for the service since you did not order it. Potentially the wife (mother in law) of the deceased father-in- law would be responsible for the electric bill under community property laws even though she did not place the order for the service and agreed to pay for such.


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