I live in Layton, UT, USA and I have a neighbor who owns a home he rents out. For the last four years he hasn't seen a water/sewage/garbage bill for the property. He assumed that it was getting sent to the rental address instead of his personal one, and that the tenants must have been taking care of it because he never got a notice saying that his account was over due.
Well now the city is saying he owes over $4,000 in back pay for all the water and services over the past four years on the rental property. He found out that four years ago the city switched to a new utility billing software. It turns out that during the migration, his utility account for the rental property was lost, thus resulting in the lack of bills and over due statements.
Can the city legally force him to pay the full amount that he should have paid even though it is clearly the city's fault? I tried to find laws about this sort of thing, but my Google-fu is lacking when it comes to legal questions.