A Water Certification / Full Payment Certificate (FPC) is a final water bill application. It is a document that states that all water and sewer charges for a property’s water account have been paid once it has been paid. All transfers of real property (deeds and ABIs) in the City of Chicago require this certificate. A $50 application charge is added to the final water bill for non-exempt transfers. This cost is waived for exempt transfers.
For all Water Certification Applications, the City of Chicago requires one of the following documents:
- Signed Sales Contract (on page one, the seller cannot be listed as “OOR” or “Owner of Record”).
In Chicago, how can I obtain a water certificate?
A Whole Payment Certificate (“FPC”) is a document issued by the Department of Finance that certifies that all utility costs and penalties owed on an account have been paid in full or are otherwise not transferable to a new owner. The FPC application informs the Department of Finance that service should be transferred from the transferor’s name to the transferee’s name. The parties will be unable to get the City of Chicago Real Property Transfer Tax stamps needed to record the property conveyance with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds unless they have an FPC.
A FPC is required in all real estate transfers, whether subject to or exempt from the City of Chicago Real Property Transfer Tax, unless otherwise permitted by law or rule.
An FPC application can now be submitted online. You can also see how an existing FPC application is doing.
A $50.00 application fee must be submitted to the Department of Finance in order to get an FPC. If the property is exempt from the Real Property Transfer Tax, however, the FPC application fee will not be collected if the exemption is indicated on the application. To complete the certification procedure, any outstanding account balance must be paid. If an FPC was required at the time the real property was transferred and one was not acquired, both the transferor and the transferee will be jointly and severally liable for any outstanding utility rates, penalties, and associated fees.
What is the cost of water certification in Chicago?
A seller must present a “Full Payment Certificate” from the City of Chicago’s Department of Finance for every real estate closing in the city, certifying that all water and sewer costs and penalties that have accrued to a water account have been paid in full.
A “water cert” or “water certification” is the common name for this Full Payment Certificate (FPC).
To record practically all deeds (even exempt transactions) to Chicago real property with the Cook County Recorder, a water certification is required.
A water certificate is a standard requirement for all Chicago closings.
How to Apply for a Water Certification
A seller (or the seller’s attorney, or, more commonly, the seller’s attorney’s clerking service) must fill out an application to apply for an FPC. A FPC costs $50 plus any penalty for unpaid or late water bills, according to the City of Chicago. The majority of clerks charge $50 for a seller’s water certification. Applications can be submitted in person at the Water Department or via email to the City. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find clerks lined up on the floor of the water department, waiting for their certifications for their clients.
Why is my water bill in Chicago so high?
- Water loss: Due to leaking pipes, Chicagoland towns lost 25 billion gallons of water last year, totaling $9 million. One community lost 38.7% of its water supply.
- Upgrades: Replacing deteriorated pipes, pumps, hydrants, and meters is costly. According to the Chicago Tribune, a fifth of the pipes pumping water from Lake Michigan are over 60 years old, quoting the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
- Other municipalities: The farther you reside from Lake Michigan, the higher your cost will be because communities nearby to you will charge you for that water. Water from Lake Michigan is sent to certain cities after it goes through numerous others, with each transaction producing a markup.
- How is your water usage assessed: Are you metered for your water usage? Some governments may simply charge you a flat cost for water service, which means you won’t be paid for how much water you really use. As a result, many clients may end up paying more than they should. It also removes the motivation to be efficient. If you can’t save money, why save water? The MeterSave program in Chicago allows residents to have a meter put in their home to conserve water and money. (For more information on the MeterSave initiative, see our fact sheet.)
- Billing frequency: Some communities may only bill you every few months, resulting in higher but fewer invoices.
- Inefficiency at home: According to the EPA, the average family can waste 180 gallons of water per week, or 9,400 gallons per year, due to leaks in the home. More than 300 loads of clothes could be washed with that amount of water.
- Private water companies are motivated by profitin a dispute before state regulators, Illinois American recently achieved an exorbitant profit rate for stockholders of about 10%. Rate increases also cover the costs of private utilities purchasing another town’s public water infrastructure.
In Chicago, what is the typical monthly water bill?
In 2021, based on Chicago water rates, this would imply that a resident uses $0.41 worth of water each day. The monthly water cost would be $12.50 as a result. Because the sewage rate is 100 percent of the water rate, your monthly water bill at this consumption would be roughly $25.
What is the average Illinois sewer bill?
The City of Woodstock invoices for water and sewer services in 100-cubic-foot units, which equates to about 750 gallons of water. Sewer rates are calculated based on the amount of water used.
All property on which a building has been or may be erected with a connection to any mains or pipes that may be constructed and utilized in conjunction with the City water system shall pay the following quarterly rates:
The following tariffs or charges for the use of the City’s sewage system are established.
The volume of water delivered by the City of Woodstock’s water works system, as demonstrated by water meter readings taken quarterly by the City’s Public Works Department, must be the basis for rates or charges.
All sewage system customers will be charged on a quarterly basis.
The following tariffs are based on water meter readings and are as follows:
It’s tough to determine an average cost because water and sewer consumption habits differ so much from one family to the next. Many families, on the other hand, utilize roughly 22 hundred cubic feet every three months, resulting in a $163.24 quarterly cost.
How much does a typical water bill cost?
In the United States, the average water bill for a household of four using 100 gallons of water per day per person is $72.93 per month.
This number fluctuates depending on consumption, with families using 50% more water than the norm costing around $115.50 per month and those using 50% less water spending around $36.90 per month. Your monthly cost will almost certainly be higher than the average if you water your lawn frequently, have a pool, or have more than four people living in your home.
The amount you spend on your water bill is determined by two key factors:
1. Your total water consumption. This should go without saying: the more water you consume in your home, the higher your average water bill will be. Other elements that affect this variable, aside from personal consumption habits, are the size of your home and the water efficiency of your appliances.
2. Water prices in your location. The cost of a typical water bill varies by state, as well as zip code and location. As a result, even if your monthly usage does not change, your bill may not be the same when you move.
When it comes to your water provider, you won’t usually have a choice, so there’s little point in shopping around. If you want to lower your average water bill, the greatest thing you can do is take steps to limit your usage. And, fortunately, it’s a lot less difficult than you may expect.
What are the upcoming water and sewer rate increases?
Beginning June 1, 2016, and every year afterwards, the yearly water rates shall be raised upwardly, if applicable, by applying the preceding year’s rate of inflation, according to the Municipal Code of Chicago. This increase is based on the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index – Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (Chicago All Items) for the 365-day period ending on the most recent January 1. However, any such annual rise must be limited to 105 percent of the preceding year’s rate.
Water and sewer rates rise in lockstep with the rate of inflation. These hikes are required to meet the ongoing costs of delivering safe, clean drinking water as well as eliminating waste water and storm runoff from Chicago’s streets. All of this is performed through a network of purification plants, tunnels, pumping stations, water mains, sewer mains, valves, and structures that need to be maintained on a regular basis. These services are required to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality criteria. Chicago’s rates for fresh, clean water will remain among the lowest in the country, at less than a cent a gallon.
How do I determine if I have a metered or non-metered account?
Your account type is indicated in the blue box next to the Bill Summary on your consolidated utility bill. It will say whether the account is non-metered, metered, or MeterSave.
How are non-metered accounts billed?
Non-metered accounts are for properties without a water meter to track usage. Non-metered accounts, unlike metered accounts, are charged a set fee depending on characteristics such as building size, lot size, and plumbing fixtures, according to the Municipal Code of Chicago. A breakdown of the computed charges particular to the property is presented on the reverse of non-metered utility bills. See Chapter 11-12-270 of the Chicago Municipal Code for more information on non-metered charges.
How are metered accounts billed?
The actual water usage measured by the water meter is used to bill metered accounts. Water usage is measured in gallons or cubic feet, depending on the type of water meter installed on your home. Metered accounts’ water charges are computed by multiplying the amount of water used by the water rate.
Depending on the property type, metered accounts are billed monthly or bi-weekly.
The Department of Water Management (DWM) is occasionally unable to obtain an accurate meter reading. You will be sent an approximate bill if this happens. When DWM is able to obtain an accurate meter reading, you will be sent a bill that accurately reflects your usage. Customers are encouraged to request the installation of an automatic meter reader to minimize estimated reads that may not accurately reflect real usage. For further information, contact the DWM at 312.747.2862.
Can I manage my utility billing account online?
For utility bills, we now have a new web gateway. The following are some of the useful online features:
You can pay your bills with automatic debits from your bank account using the AutoPay feature. You won’t have to remember to pay your bill if you use AutoPay. There are no service costs, and you will be notified via email before the automated deduction takes place.
What is the Water-Sewer Tax?
Water and sewer tax costs have been included on utility bills since March 2017. The money raised from this tax will be used to make certain pension payments that are required by law. All non-exempt Chicago companies and residents are subject to the tax, which is reported as a distinct line item on utility bills. The Water-Sewer Tax FAQ lists the specific tax rates for each year.
What is the Garbage Fee?
The garbage fee is assessed to all premises that receive waste collection from the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. See the Garbage Fee website for further details.
How do I dispute my utility bill?
We recommend paying online, over the phone, or in person at a City of Chicago Department of Finance Payment Center if you have received a notification of water service termination.
Payment plans are available if you are unable to pay your amount in full. More details can be found under utility bill payment plans.
How do I change the name on an account when a property has transferred or is going to be transferred?
Through the Full Payment Certificate Process, the owner’s name is changed. When real estate is transferred in the City of Chicago, the transferor must acquire a Full Payment Certificate (FPC) from the Chicago Department of Finance, as required by ordinance. The FPC application informs the Department of Finance that service should be transferred from the transferor’s name to the transferee’s name.
Please contact the Department of Finance/Utility Billing & Customer Service if you continue to receive invoices in the previous owner’s name. You can request a change by filling out the Change of Owner Name/Mailing Address Form. You may be needed to produce a copy of the deed and/or full payment certificate if Utility Billing & Customer Service does not have a record of the Full Payment Certificate from your closing.
How do I get a refund?
A Refund Application is available for download. Fill out the application completely and thoroughly. Make sure it’s entirely filled out and that you’ve attached all of the required supporting documents. Due to a lack of paperwork, an incomplete application will be declined.
Why am I receiving an estimated bill?
Meters are typically read every 30 to 60 days. The Department of Water Management is occasionally unable to obtain an accurate meter reading. This could happen if we are unable to receive an electronic signal from your meter or if access to the meter is restricted. You will be sent an approximate bill if this happens. When the Department of Water Management is able to obtain an accurate meter reading, you will be sent a bill that accurately reflects your usage.
Customers are encouraged to request the installation of an automatic meter reader to make it easier to collect accurate meter readings and assure accurate billing. For further information, contact the DWM at 312.747.2862.
I received a letter stating that my meter is running continuously, what does this mean?
This letter is being sent to you as a courtesy to alert you about the possibility of a water leak in or on your property. A meter that keeps running is a sign of a leak. It could also be the amount of water you use on a regular basis. This is something you should look into further.
By ordinance, the Department of Finance must bill and collect for all water usage recorded on your water meter. When water has been used, squandered, or lost due to leakage after registration, no account modifications or billing cancellation can be performed.
I received an Orange Notice of Water Service Termination what does this mean?
This implies that owing to non-payment, your water will be turned off as of the date on the notice. You must make payment or enter into a payment plan by the shut-off date on the notice to avoid water service termination.
I received a Yellow Notice of Water Service Termination what does this mean?
This implies that your water will be turned off as of the date on the notice because DWM has been denied access to the building’s water meter. To avoid having your water supply terminated, call DWM at 312.747.9090 to schedule a meter reading within 10 days of the notice’s date.
What should I do if my water has been shut-off for non-payment?
You must either pay your account in full or enroll in an eligible payment plan if you qualify.
Before your water service can be restored, you must sign a Release of Liability if your water has been turned off for more than 30 days.
NOTE: A $500.00 punishment will be imposed if your water is unlawfully restored. The Department of Water Management inspects properties on a regular basis to see if the water has been unlawfully restored.
Can a tenant have the water bill put in their name?
Although a property owner may request that water bills be delivered to a tenant’s name, this does not absolve the owner of the subject property of duty for unpaid utility expenses. To include the tenant’s name in the mailing address, please fill out a Change of Owner Name/Mailing Address Form.
Does filing bankruptcy relieve me of outstanding utility charges?
Your account will be updated to reflect that the bankruptcy was filed for the stated pre-petition charges after you have been notified. All new post-petition charges must be paid in whole and on time by you. We reserve the right to pursue collection actions, including the termination of your water service, if your current costs are not paid.
How do I remove my name from an account for a property lost in foreclosure?
The titleholder of record is responsible for all utility billing account charges up to the date of foreclosure, according to the Chicago Municipal Code. The borrower may still have certain rights to the property until a Foreclosure Deed is signed. The titleholder of record remains liable for utility billing obligations if the foreclosure is only pending (Lis Pendens) and not yet executed.
In Chicago, how much does it cost to live alone?
The average cost of living in Chicago for a single individual without rent is $980, according to Numbeo. Without rent, this comes to around $3,500 for a four-person family. This indicates that a single person earning the national average may expect to pay $3,043 per month for a 45 square meter studio apartment.