Las Vegas, NV asked in Real Estate Law for Utah

Q: I solely own bare property in Kane co.UT, if i transfer it to my spouse can a utility company come after him/property?

I have no utilities on this property, the privately shareholder owned water company is transferring it to the county. This is how i found out there is an outstanding bill of 17 years for “membership” and late fees. These a bogus charges but i really don't want to pay an attorney to prove it. I have never received a bill, even though they bill me monthly on another piece of property I own an am in good standing. I also told them 17 years ago when I bought the land that I would not pay standby fees and didn’t want to be part of the water company for that piece of property and filed for water rights and well permit, which I was granted even though I never drilled a well. There is no liens on the property. I think transferring the property to my husbands name would be the fastest cheapest way to resolve this issue as the person in charge is not easy to deal with.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth Prigmore
Kenneth Prigmore
  • Spanish Fork, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: From your description, I see at least two issues: 1) how to get the water company to stop grouping both of your properties in your name in the same box for charges for water services, and 2) avoiding a lawsuit attempting to attach and sell the property to pay a claimed debt.

Regarding the first issue: This will depend largely on how the company operates and manages things. Changing names might help, but most debts like the one they claim will remain on the property no matter who owns it, and the new owner will be on the hook to pay the debt.

Regarding the second issue: Transfers of assets to avoid payment of something (if a court determines that you owe the money) will not avoid payment. The court can look at the dates the debt was owed, and then see that you made a transfer. The court can actually reverse the transfer to allow the creditor to collect the debt. If you ever make a transfer prior to anyone making a claim that you owe money, and prior to any incident that would trigger a lawsuit, then that transfer will not normally be reversed.

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