This just happened to me. Waste Mgmt (WM) has an agreement with city of Oakland CA that if ANY garbage/recycling pickup payment is late or unpaid by end of billing period Oakland agrees to lien the property in question. | To add insult to injury, neither WM nor Oakland notifies the customer…So, this is truly dirty dealings. WM bill in advance 3 MONTHS at a time. If that invoice is unpaid by the end of billing period, it immediately turns into a doubled amount in lien costs. $61.89 turned into a $131. | 89 lien on my property, but the add-on Oakland city fees aren’t done yet. | So far, Oakland requires I send them copies of the recorded lien along with another check for $125 (which is called a “processing fee”). When that has been received, they will then mail me a bill which gives me permission to pay off the doubled-in-cost garbage bill/lien of $131.89. Add $125 to $131.89, this is $256.89, over FOUR TIMES original garbage bill. But wait, I have reason to believe there are yet more Oakland fees to be added on. I haven’t jumped through all their hurdles yet. | This only came to my attention as property owner and occupant of said home in 2016. The lien occurred in 2011: 5 YEARS AGO. Neither WM nor Oakland bothered to notify me of this lien. It only came to my attention when I attempted to refinance my home mortgage. Until this is cleared from the property title, the refinancing is completely blocked. If this drags on very long, my locked-in interest rate will rise, potentially causing me thousands of dollars more over the life of the mortgage. | Oakland’s excuse for not notifying me, the property owner and occupant, is that there are just “too many!” Honestly, I would have been happier at least receiving any notice of this 2011 lien any time in the last 5 years. | This is a sweet deal for both WM and Oakland. Why? WM has no bill collection headaches, as Oakland takes care of them by paying off any late or unpaid bills. Oakland then turns around and slaps a property lien on the naive home owner. Win-Win, right? Yes, except for the taxpayer/homeowner. | Combine that with a little financial hardship and a councilman and wife in Reno, Nevada almost lost their home completely. See Reno Gazette Journal article (may require log-in). His problems with sewer bill autopay combined with a “silent” WM lien and missed mortgage payments, and he and his wife might lose their home. He also was unaware late/unpaid WM services resulted in a property lien. He naively stated: “We are current on the garbage bill.” | UPDATE: WM offered to file a “corporate complaint;” a probable waste of time. During my research, I have come across other cities who have the same WM contract provision. WM is a North American company headquartered in Houston which took home $1.3 million in 2014. | Per Center for Media and Democracy “According to a 2007 survey of local governments, some 50 percent of solid waste management is now provided by major for-profit firms like Waste Management. WM has been a driving force in the privatization of these services. WM workers are paid significantly less than their public sector counterparts. The number of deaths in this dangerous industry was higher among workers at for-profit companies than among public sector workers from 2003 to 2009.” | 1989 Hazardous Waste News from Environmental Research Foundation reported: “Many, if not all, WM landfill sites seem likely to become superfund sites in the future. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will then hire a contracter to try to clean up these sites at substantial cost to the taxpayer. One major contractor in the superfund cleanup business is Waste Management, Inc., and they have, in the past, won EPA contracts to clean up sites that they themselves contaminated.” That’s pretty sweet: Polute, then get paid to clean up your own polution…
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