I Almost Got Cheated Out of 650 Bucks – Updated

I received a phone call from my attorney today concerning the $650 dollars the prior owner of property 3 owed me.

I wrote all about it here: How I Almost Got Cheated out of 650 bucks

See what had happened was…

When we closed on the property the prior owner did in fact have a delinquent water bill that needed to be paid. Typically what happens is the city will issue a final water bill to the owner, the owner pays the bill, and I get a property lien free.

I purchased the property in the gray area where delinquent water bills get sent to the tax office and put on the owner’s tax bill. Therefore, if you avoid paying your water bill they say okay, we’ll just put it on your taxes. However, if you avoid paying your taxes they take your property (if you own it free and clear) or the delinquent bills/fees is included in your escrow payments (if you own a mortgage).

The city figures, you can’t duck us forever.

Well, how the heck do I get stuck with the $650.00 water bill?

We need better communication…

The water department sent over the unpaid water bill to the city to add to the taxes, so when the landlord called for a final bill (at the water department) he was told his water bill was only 28 bucks. The water department never told him that they sent the bill to the tax department to add to the taxes.

So the ex-owner paid his 28 bucks and went on his merry way. Then stuff hit the fan when I got the tax bill.

How did all this get fixed?

My attorney, who is now pissed, called their attorney, and they had words with each other. I received a phone call saying, they are sending you a check.

Lesson Learned

There isn’t much we can do here. At first, I proposed ensuring all taxes/fees are paid before closing or deducting all fees from the purchase price, but I doubt that will work. Besides, if I say “I will handle all fees” and miss something I’m on the hook for paying everything without recourse. The only thing I can think of, is calling the tax office to see if there are any additional fines to pay if I’m purchasing a property in the April-June time frame.

Thank goodness I looked up the taxes or this could have gotten ugly.


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