Houston renter shocked to open water bill and see he owed $9,000

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Houston renter shocked to open water bill and see he owed $9,000

When Anthony Gutierrez opened up his water bill Saturday he said the number made his knees buckle.

The bill was for a total of $9,333.74, and Gutierrez is questioning where that charge comes from. He has not lived on the property in the 2100 block of Bleker Street since June.

"I saw this. I was like, oh my God. I'm sick! How am I gonna pay this," he said.

He admits he owes the City of Houston $62.57, which was from the last month before he moved. But Gutierrez can't fathom where the balance would come from. Looking at his online account he says $8,500 just randomly appeared under his name in September.

"That's crazy," he said.

Gutierrez said the City of Houston tells him that's the way it is. Even when he asked for a detailed explanation, all he says they would say is that it was a "backcharge," but the city couldn't explain further.

A public works spokesperson cited a "confidential" flag on the account, claiming the department couldn't discuss the situation. The department declined to elaborate on the charges even though Gutierrez provided a reporter with his email saying it would be okay for public works to share details with abc13.

The landlord of the property said the charge stems from 2014, when the city attempted to charge $6,000 or $7,000 from a different renter, and they refused to pay, and so did the property owner.
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