I got a crazy big water bill, and I’m not
going to be able to pay it. Can I discharge my water bill in bankruptcy? My name is Ron Drescher. I’m an attorney practicing bankruptcy and
creditor’s rights in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and that’s not the easiest question
to answer because it depends upon whether you want to keep your house or you want to
sell or let the house go to foreclosure. If you want to keep your house, you’re going
to have to pay that water bill because it’s going to become a first-priority lien on that
house, even ahead of your mortgage, so you’re going to have to pay it. In a Chapter 7 case, you’re going to get your
discharge, and after you’re done, you’re going to have to work something out with the taxing
authority, usually the city or the town, to come up with a payment plan to pay that water
bill. If you’re in a Chapter 13 case, you’re going
to have to pay that water bill with a little bit of interest over 36 to 60 months depending
upon the length of your Chapter 13 case, so if you want to keep the house, you’re going
to have to pay that water bill whether or not you file bankruptcy. Now, if you’re going to let that house go
either through a sale or through a foreclosure sale, the pressure is off because at settlement
of that conveyance of the house, that water bill’s going to have to get paid one way or
the other. If it’s a foreclosure sale, the bank or the
buyer is going to pay. If it’s a short sale or if it’s a normal sale,
it’ll get paid at settlement, but one way or the other, if you’re not going to hold
onto the house, you’re going to have to pay that bill through the settlement, so one way
or the other, the bankruptcy is not going to discharge that water bill. It’s a thing that’s going to have to be address
one way or the other. My name is Ron Drescher. I’m an attorney practicing bankruptcy and
creditor’s rights, and if you have a question about a bill that you’re concerned may or
may not get discharged in bankruptcy, please pick up the phone and call me. I would love to hear from you.