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rated:
I bought a house last month and received bills for the previous owner of the house. One bill is from his Landscaper for $550, and another is from Waste Management the water and sewer bill. My question is:
1. Am I liable for these bills?
2. Am I responsible for tracking down the seller of the house and presenting the bills to him?

The state is IL if it matters. TIA.

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rated:
You should send the final water and sewer bill to your title/closing company so they can pay it out of an amount they hold in escrow for this exact purpose.

The landscaper bill you can give to post office as person no longer live there. I suppose the landscaper could try to put a lien on your house, then you'd need to look at the language in your sale contract and maybe the title insurance.

rated:
Send both to the escrow company.

Mechanics lien info for Illinois:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2254&Chapte...

1. Probably not.
2. Probably not.

rated:
You didn't mention how much the sewer and water were, but if it's a governmental agency, their liens have priority over all others, including banks.
It could be argued the landscaper improved the property and can file a mechanics lien... I'd call them up, and let them know the owner moved, and offer to settle.

rated:
ThomasPaine said:   You didn't mention how much the sewer and water were, but if it's a governmental agency, their liens have priority over all others, including banks.
It could be argued the landscaper improved the property and can file a mechanics lien... I'd call them up, and let them know the owner moved, and offer to settle.
I wouldn't. Why would you do such a thing? It's not his debt, let them go after previous owner or title insurance.

rated:
scripta said:   
ThomasPaine said:   You didn't mention how much the sewer and water were, but if it's a governmental agency, their liens have priority over all others, including banks.
It could be argued the landscaper improved the property and can file a mechanics lien... I'd call them up, and let them know the owner moved, and offer to settle.

I wouldn't. Why would you do such a thing? It's not his debt, let them go after previous owner or title insurance.

  If you are going to anything more than tell them the person they're looking for no longer owns/lives there, you might as well just write them a check and be done with it.  Let them make the first move regarding any lien, which is the only thing that's potentially going to affect you.

rated:
Did you open the previous owner's mail or are you just assuming these are bills? Why aren't they being forwarded? Definitely contact the title company and see what they say. Hopefully they'll have the previous owner's new address and if this continues, you can pass that info on to the landscaper, dept of utilities and trash company.

rated:
If your sewer bill is based on your water bill make sure they are both billing you properly. Last thing you want is to have a super high sewer bill based on someone else's water usage. Anything used as of the day you closed is going to be on you, but before that it's the previous owner's problem.

rated:
This happened to me many years ago when I purchased my house. We got a few hundred dollar water bill that must not have been paid for a while from the previous owner. The water company said they would turn off my water if I didn't pay it, so I did.

Cool story.

Anyway, if they turned off the water, then there's another fee to turn it back on. I didn't want to mess with that. 

rated:
Thanks for all the advice. I will contact title company about this and let you know how it turns out.
meade18 said:   Did you open the previous owner's mail or are you just assuming these are bills? Why aren't they being forwarded? Definitely contact the title company and see what they say. Hopefully they'll have the previous owner's new address and if this continues, you can pass that info on to the landscaper, dept of utilities and trash company.

I did not open previous owner's mail. Both were addressed to my house without name.  

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ahcool said:    Both were addressed to my house without name.  
  Um, that's weird -- and a little hard to believe.

rated:
ahcool said:   Thanks for all the advice. I will contact title company about this and let you know how it turns out.
meade18 said:   Did you open the previous owner's mail or are you just assuming these are bills? Why aren't they being forwarded? Definitely contact the title company and see what they say. Hopefully they'll have the previous owner's new address and if this continues, you can pass that info on to the landscaper, dept of utilities and trash company.

I did not open previous owner's mail. Both were addressed to my house without name.  

  good "answer" *wink wink*

rated:
tuphat said:   
ahcool said:    Both were addressed to my house without name.  
  Um, that's weird -- and a little hard to believe.

  very common for city utilities around here

rated:
tuphat said:   
ahcool said:    Both were addressed to my house without name.  
  Um, that's weird -- and a little hard to believe.

 They're notifying the current resident/owner a lien against the property is imminent.  They really have little incentive to pursue the former owner, even though it is his debt.

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