Delinquent water bills hidden

4 Replies

We have bought two houses over the last year that have had delinquent water bills rolled into our next city tax cycle.  Just curious if anyone has experience recovering this cost from the title company or have suggestions on preventing?  

Thanks, Joe

Originally posted by @Joe Attard :

We have bought two houses over the last year that have had delinquent water bills rolled into our next city tax cycle.  Just curious if anyone has experience recovering this cost from the title company or have suggestions on preventing?  

Thanks, Joe

Our attorney ALWAYS holds back an escrow amount to cover this specific item. Plus yours should have found it attached to the taxes when they reviewed the search???

Unfortunately, our title company search didn't discover the water bill attached to the taxes during their search.  The city is not making it easy by not divulging this info to the title company.  

Just curious what our options are at this point.  The title company is supposed to protect against this situation.  Do they have any legal obligation to items they overlooked?

@Joe Attard

just to play devils advocate for a minute, do you know the date that they put the lien on the property?

If they liened it, the title company should have been able to find it.  Until you were literally the first client ever to use their service at that courthouse.

I wouldn't jump at the courthouse just yet ... it's actually much more likely that you got a dude title search.

Having said that, check the date that the lien was placed, because they could have:

1) Seen the deed transfer

2) immediately liened the delinquent bill in an effort to recover cost.

3) not cared that it's you and not the previous owner, because they need that $$$

just some thoughts, interested to hear any updates you have.

Water bills are the one utility that will always attach to the property if it is delinquent (at least in the State of Pa and most east coast states). I'm not sure how it was hidden. Maybe you over looked it or wasn't certain of what said lien stemmed from? The title company could have explained it to you if you asked. Perhaps they presumed that you knew or would do further due diligence to find out. The only other coverage aside from Pat L's recommendation is to purchase the extended title insurance in lieu of the standard. My coin.

Kudos,

Mary 

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