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Old 02-24-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,802,097 times
Reputation: 1198

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I just found out today that the former owner of this house didn't pay the $65 fire assessment (for April '09 to April '10). This assessment is billed by the town, not the county.

For that reason, it seems our title company didn't know about it (we closed in July '10.)

The seller did not disclose the debt to us.

So now the town says they may have to file a lien against our address, but under the former owners name. (but the clerk did say she will see if the mayor will write off the debt).

Can they just attach a lien against our house like that? That debt is NOT ours. Second, should I contact my title company? Should I contact the seller's agent to see about recourse for him not disclosing this?

All is I know is nobody is going to file a lien against my house if I can help it. I'll get a lawyer if I have to. I'm tired of this deadbeat former owner and all of his bill collectors who have been calling us (they traced our new phone # to this address I guess) and mailing us since we moved in! The guy was a disaster, so I doubt he will ever pay this, esp since it's almost a year delinquent at this point!

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Old 02-24-2011, 11:10 AM
 
2,879 posts, read 7,780,709 times
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Call the Title Company, you paid them what is usually an exorbitant amount to give you a clean title. Some places have trash liens others fire, etc., it's up to them to know who to clear things with.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,957 posts, read 22,313,597 times
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I'm thinking that by all means you should spend a ton of money fighting this. Pay the $65 first, and then go see if you can find someone to reimburse you. The assessment is against the property, not the individual.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,802,097 times
Reputation: 1198
I don't think it's even possible to put a lien on real estate that is NOT owned by the debtor.

Sounds nuts to me?????
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,573 posts, read 46,149,725 times
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Would you seriously pay a lawyer as opposed to just paying the $65 yourself? I'm all for people being responsible for their actions, but this just seems like it would be cutting off your nose to spite your face.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,802,097 times
Reputation: 1198
We have already spent $3,200 on this house due lies by the fomer owner. The drainfield went bad as soon as we moved in. When I called around for estimates, 2 different company's told me that they told the former owner the field was bad and also gave him quotes for a new one.

Would I like to sue him? Sure. But like the saying goes, you can't get blood out of a turnip. We would have to get a judgement and then attach that lien to his property. I don't even know where he is and I doubt he has many assets in FL to attach. So it would end up costing me court filing fees and hassle, and we would probably never collect. (based on lots of research that I have done on this)

So yes, I do NOT want to just pay the $65. I'm watching every penny right now because my husband has about a 50/50 chance of getting laid off this spring. I'm tired of being wronged by other people.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:02 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,573 posts, read 46,149,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MovedfromFL View Post

So yes, I do NOT want to just pay the $65. I'm watching every penny right now because my husband has about a 50/50 chance of getting laid off this spring. I'm tired of being wronged by other people.
I'm trying to understand your logic. You are watching every penny, but you would pay a lawyer to fight it?
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,802,097 times
Reputation: 1198
My logic was a lawyer could be found to draft a simple letter for a low fee. The town's threat of a lien just didn't seem right, but I guess that is legal after all if the assessment is tied to the property.

I found out that the seller signed forms at closing to certifiy that there were no fees owed on the property. (big surprise, he lied again)

My title insurance will probaby pay for it. (I just called them). The agent is out of the office today. They had no idea anything was owed because it was not a lien yet. (was due April '10 and the town is just now saying to pay up or lien) Town should have liened the former owner and it would have shown on the title search.

Just another case of a dishonest seller. They are out there unfortunately. I just don't need any more stress right now.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:53 PM
 
2,879 posts, read 7,780,709 times
Reputation: 1184
Lawyers charge 100 to draft a letter in Phoenix.
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,046 posts, read 28,481,404 times
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Your title insurance MAY cover it, depending on what you paid for. Some types of title insurance only cover liens that existed at the time of closing, and the title company missed. Some types cover liens that have not yet been filed.

I know someone who had to pay a past utility bill for a house they bought because the utility company liens the property, not the person.

Any sort of subcontractor who works on building a new home or remodeling an existing home will lien the property if not paid, which means the owner has to deal with them, even though they already paid the builder or general contractor for the work. I know of one unethical builder who did this on about 20 homes. He closed them, knowing full well he did not intend to pay the final bills, took the money and skipped town. On new construction, when the house closes, the bills haven't even come in yet for work done in the last 30 days, so if you closed at the right time of month, you could theoretically have as much as 1/2 the cost of building the house liened against the new owner. All of those new owners had to either pay those bills again (hundreds of thousands in some cases), walk away from the house they just bought, or file bankruptcy.

Incedentally, this is why reputable builders who provide expanded coverage for their buyers usually like to close at the same title company every time. They are already all vetted by that title company, so the title company is willing to offer expanded title insurance on the sale. If they close at a title company who doesn't know them, the title company may refuse to issue the expanded policy at all, or at best, will make the builder provide all sorts of documentation and references.

Anyway, point is that ABSOLUTELY there are situations where liens can be filed against a house owned by someone other than the debtor.
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