Landlord stuck with tenant's unpaid $19K water bill - KMSP-TV

Landlord stuck with tenant's unpaid $19K water bill

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A landlord was left with a $19,000 water bill after a tenant moved out of a northwest Atlanta condo.  The city says the owner is responsible for the bill.

Shelly Francis learned about the water bill when she attempted to transfer water services and other utilities into her name after renting out the condo to the same tenant for years

"[The water department clerk] put it into the computer and at that time she said, ‘Oh, there is a large balance on this account.'  I learned that there was a $19,000 plus balance," Francis said.  
Francis said that the city employee turned her that she was responsible for the bill if the tenant doesn't pay it.

Francis said that the city paperwork showed that the account had been in the tenant's name and that the lease agreement spelled out that utilities were not included in the rent.

"I was informed that if I did not pay the balance that they were going to put a lien on myself, on the property," Francis said. "I was really, really stunned. Actually speechless. "

When asked how a small condo could accrue a $19,000 bill, a spokesperson for the water department told FOX 5's Morse Diggs that the department hasn't been aggressively turning off overdue accounts until now.

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