Can I be charged for a reconnection fee or back billing if I was not aware of it?

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Can I be charged for a reconnection fee or back billing if I was not aware of it?

I purchased a duplex home approximately 5 years ago. The home only had one sewer bill at the time of purchase. The previous owner used it as a single family home so the sewer authority only billed for one sewer connection. I have recently been made aware that since it is being used as two units that it should have two sewer connection bills. They said I would be responsible for back bills 5 years for the second connection or a reconnection fee for the second unit of approx $400. Since I was not aware of this until now and they have not made me aware of it until now can they back bill me or charge the reconnection fee?

Asked on April 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Potentially your municipality could be time barred from charging you for a portion of your sewer bills for the unit that you purchased since you were receiving benefits not in compliance with local code.

Your recourse would be to contest the charges and bring in the prior seller of the unit into the claim in that the seller should have known that the unit being sold to you needed separate sewer hookups. If such material fact was disclosed to you before close of escrow, the price paid for the property by you most likely would be less than what you did.


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