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I bought a house in Florida in 2017 and when I went to get the water service turned on they told me there is a water bill from 1998 and I need to pay it. Is it my responsibility even if I didn't own the house and there had been 6 other owners before me?

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    How is it none of the previous 6 owners were required to pay this bill? Did no one have water in this house for the past 19 years? – zibadawa timmy Apr 20 '18 at 3:59
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To get an answer tailored to your problem, you need to get a lawyer. The general answer is that the water bill goes with the property, not the person using the water. The unpaid bill can become a lien on the property, and the house can be taken and sold to satisfy the lien.

There are other factors / questions. Under Florida law (180.135), if the debt arises from a renter who incurred the debt directly with the utility, a lien cannot be placed against the property. Any lien must be perfected (filed with the courts), and the point of a title search is to find such liens – assuming that a title search was done. There is a limit to how long you can wait to collect on a debt (7 years).

  • If there's a lien, it seems to me that should be something that title insurance should cover. – Acccumulation Apr 19 '18 at 18:55
  • Yes, except if the court is at fault (that is, the court clerk messed up and failed to register something). – user6726 Apr 19 '18 at 19:01

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