Do I have to pay an old owner’s water bill?

We moved into a condo 8 months ago and shortly after moving in we started getting notices that our water was being shut off because of an overdue bill. After calling the town I realized the sewer bill is overdue too. The town is saying it’s my responsibility to pay it, but I don’t see how that can be since the bills were from the previous owner.

Asked on July 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When you purchased the real estate that you did, did you obtain a preliminary report in conjunction with any title insurance that you may have obtained? If so, was there a lien of record for the water bill associated with the condominium that you bought set forth in the preliminary report?

If so, you were on constructive notice of the unpaid water bill and are repsonsible for it subject to being reimbursed for what you pay by the seller of the unit. If not listed as a lien on the preliminary report, then you are not responsible for paying this water bill of the prior owner. For future assistance you may want to consult further with a real estate attorney concerning this matter.

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