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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
    Posts
    37

    Default Property Management Company Not Sending Bills, Water Shut Off Notice

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Massachusetts

    The house I live in was foreclosed on late last year, with the bank taking ownership after auction. The bank contracted the property management to a realtor in the area, who made initial contact with me in December via a letter backdated two weeks. The first e-mail I sent was on 13 December, and the first phone call I think was 16 December. At the time I stated my intention to stay in the property because I had a surgery scheduled for January, which was screwed up because my health insurance switched my primary and for some reason I had to go through the process all over again and had the surgery finally a couple of weeks ago. The last phone call was in February shortly before the eviction moratorium happened due to COVID, however in the three phone calls I had with them included offers by me to pay rent, however the agent I was speaking to said that the bank would refuse it and instead "opt for eviction". To date I have received no paperwork from them concerning eviction to include the required 90-day notice to vacate pursuant to the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act. The electricity, gas, and garbage bills are all in my name, however the water bill is not; the town manages the water and so they switched the bill from the previous owner to the bank when they took it over in November.

    On Tuesday I received a shut off notice for nonpayment of the water bill. At no point have I ever had to worry about the water bill, except last year when the previous owner moved and didn't pay it, forcing me to pay it. I have no rental agreement requiring me to pay it, nor did I have one with the previous owner. To date, I have received no water bill and the company managing the property has not forwarded one to me, nor checked on if I'm still living in the property despite an agent of the bank showing up about two months ago to check on the property. Apparently, the agent I was working with had a stroke not too long ago and provided inaccurate information on the house: namely that there was a key box on the door and that it was unoccupied. The bank agent took my information down and said she'd pass it along to the management company after I explained to her everything that had happened. Yesterday I contacted the town to try to get a copy of the bill as well as try to set up a payment plan with them to handle the bill but they refuse to do either (they say I can't get a copy because the bill's not in my name...but I can still pay it, and they won't do a payment plan because the bill hasn't been paid in a year despite me saying I never got a copy of the bill). I then contacted the company to talk to them, and the person I spoke to said they were unaware they were managing the property, but they'd have someone "contact" me. Obviously I'm not expecting much because the time between me calling the company and them calling me back has been about a week previously.

    The bill is about $300, a sum I don't have available right now. I've called the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities but, since it's a municipal utility they have no ability to do anything concerning it. I currently have an open wound on my back post-surgery and I have to keep it clean. I'm curious as to what my options are concerning this entire thing, since I did nothing wrong in this instance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: Property Management Company Not Sending Bills, Water Shut Off Notice

    You can't live in the house if the water is turned off. Try calling you local health department. Unless the bills were in your name you have no obligation to pay them. The management company should be paying them. Have you asked the management company to pay the bill and you work out a payment plan with them?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Property Management Company Not Sending Bills, Water Shut Off Notice

    I contacted the management company on Tuesday but they haven't gotten back to me. At this point I filed paperwork with the housing court to handle the issue, which will apparently allow for a TRO to force them to take care of the bills (since I guess they can't stop the town from turning off my water).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Property Management Company Not Sending Bills, Water Shut Off Notice

    I have to ask, just out of curiosity maybe, how you cannot pay the water bill when you've skipped out on rent since February?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Property Management Company Not Sending Bills, Water Shut Off Notice

    I receive Chapter 115 benefits, which are public assistance at the state level for veterans. It gives me money to handle bills and food. If I am paying rent I also receive additional money from that but since I have not been, I don't get the portion for rent. The only thing I am reimbursed for is gas foe heating the house.

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