Editor’s Note: Under Mississippi law, unpaid garbage debts can be attached to the physical property, not to the tenant. That means homeowners sometimes find themselves saddled with a hefty lien due to the actions of a previous resident. This week’s sound-off column features your thoughts on a Daily Journal editorial calling for a change in the law to prevent homeowners from being charged for someone else’s trash. Below is a collection of your comments at DJournal.com and our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as those emailed to email@example.com.
“Honestly, the government probably does it this way because they know they will be hard pressed to get money from the people who owe the debt, but know they can get it out of the people currently residing there, who have to have car tags. It’s sad, and corrupt, but more than likely true.”
Haley Carpenter Fuller (Facebook)
“Good ole Mississippi...gotta love it”
Kevin Curtis (Facebook)
“Not right they should get the scum that owes it”
Paulette Childs (Facebook)
“Government is just the mafia with a flag who operates in public”
Matt Nichols (Facebook)
“The county should have to buy Scotty a new house.”
Sammy Smith (Facebook)
“Itawamba co gave me a bill in some one else’s name but it’s not mine so I’m not going to pay it and it’s from 21 yrs ago no body pays my bills and I’m not paying someone else’s bill my husband is real bad sick and hasn’t worked since January I’m on disability. This law needs to be changed.”
Teresa Hutcherson (Facebook)
“You shouldn’t have to pay someone else’s garbage bill. The former tenants should be charged.”
Toni McMickin Bradley (Facebook)
“It should matter this bill isn’t his and he shouldn’t have to pay for it go after the ones that are responsible for the Bill.”
Diane Weiss (Facebook)
“If I’m not mistaken we the people have no choice I’m pretty sure whether they pick up garbage or not you will be charged a monthly fee what if the property is vacant. R u charged regardless I know there every house has one assigned to them. What is the so call rule. Does anyone know. We had the same issue with a property we bought. We did a TITLE SEARCH at time of purchase. Then years later, we owed a bill for someone who had owned the property years before the person we purchased it from. Which means the property sold twice, then years after we owned it, they billed us. WE HAD TO PAY IT.”
Becky Marty Walton (Facebook)
“Same thing happened to us in Prentiss County. We never owned either of the properties, only rented, but never got a bill. Then we were told we had to pay over $700 before we could renew our tags. We didn’t even live at the addresses during the years the bills were accumulated. The system is definitely messed up.”
Brittany McKinley (Facebook)
“I don’t understand how people have lived on the property for years, have bought tags before and then all of the sudden owe hundreds of dollars in past due garbage bills?”
Patty Glidewell (Facebook)
“I would think that Waste Companies should have the same info on a customer as the electric Companies do and they charge the bill to the person who lived in the home at the time. It can and should be corrected and wrongful payees reimbursed!!”
Linda Morris (Facebook)
“Land cannot pay debts. Only people can. It makes no sense to encumber the property in this way.”
Jamie McFadden (Facebook)
“Ridiculous! He should go see Brandon Presley, the Public Service Commissioner. I don’t know if Brandon could help, but he should find out. The bill doesn’t belong to him. Those who made the bill should be responsible for it.”
Cynthia Stepp (Facebook)
“The garbage bill should have shown up on the title search when he bought the property and he could have made the previous owner take care of it before purchasing the property. If it’s rental property, it should be on the landlord. I don’t disagree that he shouldn’t have to pay it but that is why you NEVER buy property without a title search first. Back taxes or even a bank lien on the property would be no different.
I dont understand why home owners don’t understand they are charged this... and if you rent, your charge to rent should include that price.
As for Electric bill vs Garbage pick up, that’s simple... that bill varies each month... so it is imperative the person dwelling in the home would be responsible. What is hard to understand. THATS THE WAY IT IS... what is the debate...
Ignorance of the “law” is no excuse. I sympathize with these people. I have been in similar situations... it’s not fun. But it is fact.”
Heidi Riley (Facebook)
“In the past couple of years, Three Rivers has changed the computer system. This has resulted in garbage liens showing up that did not previously appear. These liens weren’t missed during title searches, they were not there until this new computer system was implemented.
Three Rivers and the counties are very well aware of the problem, but unless all the counties will ban together to modify the system Three Rivers has in place, real estate attorneys have no choice but to collect the liens as they appear.
The counties turned this garbage collection over to Three Rivers because it was such a hassle and Three Rivers is in the business to collect the debt, so arguing with them about it has fallen on deaf ears.”
Kathy Little (Facebook)