Isa property owner responsible for a water bill in someone else’s name?

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Isa property owner responsible for a water bill in someone else’s name?

My great grandmother turned 100 last year and is in a rest home. Her previous home was inherited by her son, and he then gave the house to my father. We have had the house for the last 3 years and have paid the utilities with no one living there, although the water bill is still in my great grandmother’s name. After 3 years, all of a sudden we get a $7600 water bill. The house is in my parent’s name. If we say good luck getting paid from the “responsible party” my GG, what could they do to her? They can’t go after they home can they since its not in her name?

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, most states, cities and/or counties will not let you get off that easily.  Although it is true that the houseis no longer in her name, the water bill can probably be listed as a line against the underlying property.  In other words, they will file a lien with the county clerk's office against the address itself.  And what do you think will happen when you go and try and sell it or put the water bill in your name?  You guessed it.  Not going to be easy.  And then there is the issue of turning the water off in its entirety. And I bet you that they will not turn it back on without payment.  Also, if GG has any asset at all in her name they could place try and collect based upon what it is (bank account, etc.) and her estate will be responsible here.  Time to think about paying it off.  Good luck.


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