Do utility liens survive trustee sale?

I have purchased a property in CA (first deed of trust) from a trustee sale on 2/24/10. On 2/25/10 city recoreded a utility lien for 1K, incurred by a previous owner. Now they are sending the bills to me demanding the money. I researched CAL. GOV. CODE ? 43008 and it says that “Utility liens … shall be subordinate to any prior recorded lien on the property.”
My understanding is that the utility liens should not survive the trustee sale because of that subordination. Even if they deed, the lien was recorded after the sale and should be invalid.
Any experience with similar situations? Thank you.

I’m not an attorney so I can’t give you a concrete answer, but the real question is whether or not your title co will insure title without having it paid. If not, you’ll either have to file a quiet title action, or pay it, unless you can convince them to drop it. My experience has been that any utility lien that can roll to property taxes if not paid is nearly impossible to get out of.

Ok, I think I found it: (a)A lien on real property that results from the delinquency in payment of rates or charges, or the collection of future rates or charges, whether or not added to the tax assessment rolls, for water or other utility services supplied to the owners or occupants of real property by a utility owned or operated by a city, as defined in Section 53368, or a city and county, except a lien to discharge bonded indebtedness, shall be subordinate to any prior recorded lien on the property. (California Code - Section 43008)
Following a foreclosure, subsequent purchasers and lienholders cannot be subject to personal liability for any delinquent assessments or installments that came due before they acquired title to the property. (Civil Code ? 1466.) A trustee?s sale or judicial foreclosure of the first deed of trust (or other senior lien) will extinguish all assessment liens that were due before the ownership interest was acquired. A person who acquires an interest through judicial foreclosure or trustee?s sale will, however, be liable for all assessments that become due after the date he or she acquired the property interest. (Civil Code ? 1367(a) and Civil Code ? 1367.1(a).)

P.S. The city’s clerks are trying to bully me into paying the prior owner’s lien. And it looks like they did it to many other people. I am going to dispute this.

Nice work! Please let us know the outcome.

We ran into a California Conservation District that claimed the civil code that regulates the city and county do not apply to them. Is there a foreclosure civil code that governs where utility liens stands after foreclosures?

My guess is that, again, some clerk is playing an attorney at law. Ask them if they can provide you with the law that excludes them from the civil code.

Lena, How did your situation play out? We have a similar situation with a unpaid garbage bill that is going to to lien at the end of the month. Apparently the amount is added to the tax bill at that point. Very interested in your experience if you care to share. Thanks in advance!

I nicely asked their supervisor to consult their legal department, and surprisingly, they called me about a month later. They told me they will remove the lien “as a courtesy”.
Note that it does not matter if they add it to the tax or not according to the California Code - Section 43008

I bought a duplex on 8/2/11 in the city of San Bernardino at an auction. The representative told me that all liens, other than tax liens, would be extinguished at time of sale. I later discovered there were 4 small city liens against the property, three for abatement and one for uncollected business registration fees. The city told me that these four liens survived the sale and I owe the money. I need the Calif. Government code section that settles this issue. Thanks. Walt

The City of Oakland was/is authorized to have unpaid City business taxes added to the tax bill. Last fall, when I saw a sudden jump on the tax bill I recvd., I noticed the unpd. business tax added to the tax bill. I called the tax collector’s office who referred me to the City Busines Tax office. I was asked to email them a copy of the Trustee’s Deed. In a few days the property tax office issued a revised bill.
My case might be different. The timing of when the unpd. business tax was added to the tax bill might have a bearing. I don’t know whether they looked at the Deed of Trust date or the sale date of the fcl. I had the feeling he had gone thru this many times before.

HELP!!! I bought apiece of land from the bank in 2008 in Orangeville CA. Before there was a douplex which was burned down and previous owner filed a bancropcy. Now in 2012 I want to develop this property but local Water District sent me a bill with unpaid dues, intersts on it and penalties - about $2300. I never used a water - and I don’t want to pay it. How to resolve this dispute. Any advice how to resolve it?
Thank you.

HI Nick, You can take the trustees deed down to the water district. This may help to resolve the matter. In some cases utility liens can be senior to the Deed of Trust. You may want to enlist the help of your local title company on this one.

Lena: I am in the same situation. I purchased a property at a trustee sale. First trust deed dtd 1970. It turned out the property had about $5,000 in garbage liens, $982 in water liens and a business tax lien of $800. So far I have talked to the Oakland Garbage lien section, city Attorney, Tax assessors office and all have said they have never heard of anyone getting reimbursed. Even as you said the trust deed that I purchased was senior the liens. I am now thinking about filing a small claims action and forcing the matter in court. I have cited the CA code 43008.