New homeowner gets stuck with $3,282 water bill for water she didn't use
TORONTO -- A woman who recently bought her first home in Oshawa three months ago said she was faring well, that is until she received a letter telling her she owed more than $3,000 for a water bill.
Jennifer Aquino bought the house in November of last year and believed all the bills were up to date. She paid her first water bill without any issues.
“I've been doing my very best to adjust to all of these things, all of these utility bills and the responsibilities of owning a house are very new to me,” she said.
But then she said she received a letter from Durham Region regarding a past due water bill for $3,282.
“The bill got as high as it did from someone else using the water – not me,” Aquino said. “They are now giving me one week to pay it and threatening me and as a first time home buyer that really concerns me.”
CTV News Toronto reached out to Durham Region and a spokesperson said that bills for municipal water and sanitary sewer use are charged against the home.
"Therefore, any outstanding balances, if left unaddressed, will transfer to the purchaser, upon closing,” the spokesperson said.
Aquino does have title insurance and was told that if she paid the bill, she could try to make a claim to get her money back. But she feels she shouldn't have to.
“For someone to say we know someone else did this, but we don't really care because we want our money and we will send a collection agency after you is concerning,” she said.
The water department said the bill did not come up during the closing of the property because it had not been totally calculated from the previous owner’s usage.
In the end, Aquino directed her lawyer to contact the home's previous owner and after several attempts they agreed to pay the bill in full. Aquino believes that's what the municipality should have done in the first place.
“It’s definitely nice to know that this is not something that I need to worry about moving forward,” Aquino said.