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YOU ASK. WE INVESTIGATE. Man says he got stuck with old homeowner's sewer bill

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 22:05:19-04

A man got more than he bargained for on the purchase of his new valley home.

He said he got slapped with the old owner's sewer bill.

Richard Warrenburg and his wife did something so many other Californians have done, move to Las Vegas. They bought a house and thought everything was squared away.

"We signed the final settlement and escrow and there was no indication of any liens or public service or taxes or anything," said Warrenburg.

However, after making his mortgage payment several times, something odd happened.

"What caused the red flag to go up for me is that my mortgage payment went up $12," Warrenburg said.

His mortgage company told him it was because he had an unpaid sewer bill.

Warrenburg went to the Clark County Treasurer and got a print out showing a delinquent 2015-16 bill from the Clark County Water Reclamation District.

His mortgage company paid the bill with money from escrow.

"Getting angry is a waste of life," said Warrenburg. "Making it right is what everybody should do. So I said, 'ok well it's an error. It's an error. Something went wrong.'"

After 13 Action News contacted the Water Reclamation District, they sent Warrenburg an email saying it was unpaid from 2014-15, not 2015-16.

We called the Water Reclamation District for an explanation.

Their billing cycle goes from July 1 to June 30. In June, they put any delinquent bills on the tax roll and it shows up the next fiscal year, which explains why the late bill for 2014-15 showed up as 2015-16.

But the biggest question and the one the Water Reclamation District couldn't answer: why did that information not show up during the title company's audit?

Financial Guidance Center CEO and President Michele Johnson said this just underscores the importance of going through escrow.

"As part of that you get title insurance and the obligation of the escrow company, is to search and make sure that there are no liens outstanding and no issue with the making sure that you have a clear title with your property," said Johnson.