If I’ve have just taken ownership of a small restaurant, am I responsible for the previous owner’s utility bills?

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If I’ve have just taken ownership of a small restaurant, am I responsible for the previous owner’s utility bills?

I just received a 7 day notice from the gas and electric company to the old owner’s name saying I owe $5,500. I also received bills for water and garbage; all together the amount owed is about $7,000. I was not aware of these bills and I cannot get in contact with the previous owner.

Asked on March 13, 2012 under Business Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are responsible for the prior owner's bills of the business that you purchased depends upon what the presumed purchase agreement states. Assuming you have one, you need to carefully read it in that the document will determine your obligations. If you purchased solely the assets of the prior business, you are not obligated for prior bills. However, if you purchased the entire business, you are responsible for its prior bills.

I suggest that you meet with a business attorney about your question to go over all written documents that you received concerning it.


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