Kansas City, MO asked in Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for Arkansas

Q: I live in my ex mother-in-law's house. And we pay her for the utilities. And she got mad at me because I wouldn't

Pay my daughter's car payment and had my water shut off can she do that

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In the United States, the legality of your situation depends on the terms of your living arrangement with your ex-mother-in-law. If you have a formal lease or rental agreement, it typically outlines the responsibilities for utility payments. If utilities are included in your rent, then the landlord (in this case, your ex-mother-in-law) generally cannot shut off your water for reasons unrelated to the utility payments themselves.

If there is no formal agreement, and you are paying her directly for utilities as part of an informal arrangement, it becomes more complex. Generally, even without a formal lease, you may have some tenant rights under your state's landlord-tenant laws. These laws often require a landlord to provide essential services like water, and they may prohibit shutting off utilities as a form of retaliation or punishment.

However, every state has different laws, and the specifics can vary widely. It would be wise to consult with a local attorney who can provide advice based on the details of your situation and your state's laws. They can help you understand your rights and the appropriate steps to take in this situation.

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