News 4 Investigates: Judgment delays house sale - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Judgment delays house sale

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Antonio Baker of St. Louis had trouble selling his home when he discovered a company that owned the home before him had an unpaid MSD bill of $33,000. Credit: KMOV Antonio Baker of St. Louis had trouble selling his home when he discovered a company that owned the home before him had an unpaid MSD bill of $33,000. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Court judgments and liens can delay the sale of your house, even if it's not your fault. 

Antonio Baker of St. Louis sold his home in late 2016, but when the new buyer ran a title search, problems surfaced.

"I didn't know this lien existed at all," said Baker. 

Baker discovered an unpaid Metropolitan Sewer District Bill for more than $30,000 was attached to his property. 

It was baffling because Baker told News 4 "I paid my MSD bill. I haven't missed a payment since I lived here." 

Baker was correct. 

According to MSD, the unpaid bill belonged to Harbour Portfolio, an out-of-state company that sold the home to Baker in 2012. 

Harbor Portfolio owns 38 properties in the City of St. Louis, and some of its other properties had unpaid bills. 

MSD obtained a judgment against Harbour Portfolio, and Baker's home was included. 

Baker contacted Harbor Portfolio, and the company agreed to pay the judgment in full allowing Baker to sell his house.

A spokesperson representing Harbor Portfolio referred to the situation as a "blanket lien." 

According to a spokesperson for MSD, the utility does not "bundle liens" but they do obtain judgments against outstanding accounts. 

In Baker's case, he purchased the home through an installment loan using Harbor Portfolio's lender, and because Harbour Portfolio still retained title to the house, Baker was caught in the middle. 

Homeowners can call their local recorder of deeds office to determine if a lien has been placed against their property. They can also sign up for a service called property fraud alert that flags documents filed against properties. 

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