TORONTO -- A Thornhill, Ont. resident said he was stunned after receiving a water bill last month for close to $38,000.

“I nearly passed out. I thought where am I going to get the money to pay that bill," Kenny Wong said, speaking to CTV News Toronto. 

Wong said he bought the property in February and he received the bill in June.

“It’s $38,000 and that's the outstanding water bill from the previous owner," Wong said.


Wong explained that on closing the deal for the property, his lawyer didn't check to see if the utility bills were paid in full. The home was vacant for a year and a half and he now believes a water pipe must have burst while the home sat empty.

“I called Alectra Utilities and they said due to privacy reasons I’m not entitled to know anything [about the previous owner] which is really frustrating, but they are demanding I pay the $38,000 outstanding."

Wong feels the utility companyshould have known something was wrong and questioned why a bill would get that high.

“Why didn't they do anything about it? I mean that is really, really off the charts to add up to those kinds of dollars," Wong said.

When CTV News Toronto reached out to Alectra a spokesperson explained that they tried to collect the money from the the seller, but were unsuccessful.

“Mr. Wong was not informed about the water account arrears until the sale had closed," the spokesperson said. “It is the purchaser’s responsibility to ensure they understand any costs and arrears related to the property they are buying.”

Wong did purchase title insurance and has filed a claim hoping it will cover the cost of the bill. Alectra has now assigned an agent to Wong's s case and hopes the two sides can reach a reasonable resolution.

The most common reason for high water bills in the GTA is a running toilet. A single leaky toilet can waste more than 900 cubic metres of water in a month creating a water bill of more than $2,600.