Here are several issues we have had recently with water bills after a closing. This could help you avoid big problems on your next closing.

The first issue and the biggest problem we have had this year have been from purchases from Fannie Mae. We purchased a property from Fannie Mae and they signed an affidavit that they would take care of a $3,500 water bill on a property that they were selling us. Please note that if this happens to you, don’t close until Fannie Mae escrows the money for anything owed on the property. We as well as our settlement company leaned a lesson on this closing since it has been 6 months and they have not paid a $3,500 water bill. Now Pittsburgh Water is threatening to terminate service to a property that we have rented. I know that we will soon have this worked out but it has been a huge hassle.

Another issue we have had on numerous properties is that Pittsburgh Water and Sewage has been transferring the water service into our name when the lien letter is ordered prior to us purchasing the property. We have gotten bills on different properties before we ever owned them – and on properties that had title issues and never closed. The water authority is not supposed to change the service until they get a copy of the deed but this is not happening. When the lien letter is ordered, the closing date is put on the lien letter request and the water authority seems to be transferring the water service as of this date. Deals fall apart due to title issues and closings get delayed all the time for many different reasons and the buyers are getting billed for services they did not use. We suggest letting the water company know if (I know it sucks calling them and sitting on hold for 30 minutes) a closing gets delayed or if you terminate an agreement after title has been ordered to avoid going through this hassle.

About Mark Fitchner

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