Managing a Vacant Property in Foreclosure or for Sale
A customer may wish to have their water disconnected and may even wish to have the water meter removed if the residence will not be heated while sitting vacant or during the time of temporary disconnection. Any damage that may result from allowing a water meter to become frozen shall be paid for by the customer, property manager, or owner of the premises.
Additionally, a customer may wish to have their water temporarily disconnected as a security measure to prevent extensive damage as well as water/sewer consumption charges should a pipe freeze and burst in their home during their absence.
It’s always a good idea to contact the Utilities Office to ask questions regarding your options if the property is going to be vacant , whether for a sale, foreclosure, vacation, etc, to understand the billing and other ramifications specific to your situation.
Preparing for the Sale of a Property
The La Crosse Utilities Office requires final readings on all property transfers, including vacant lots that have no water meter, but may have impervious surface that is billed for Stormwater charges. Requests for final reads must be made at least 3 business days prior to the date you wish the final reading to be taken. Final reads can then be e-mailed to the title company for inclusion in the closing. If a sale falls through, the party who ordered the final reading has the responsibility for canceling the final reading with the Utility. Final reads can then be e-mailed to the title company for inclusion in the closing.
Final readings can be scheduled:
- Online: Request for Final Utilities Billing - Sale of Property (COMING SOON!)
- By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By Phone: (608) 789-7536
For the water and sewer related charges, a meter reading will be obtained on the date requested and a final bill is issued to the occupant vacating the premises. For stormwater charges, this date will be used to final the account and pro-rate the charges.
The following information is required to request service changes:
- Email or mailing address to send Final Bill
- Full Name of new customer (First, MI, Last)
- Billing Address of new customer
- Phone number of new customer
- Date of Birth (Only if the buyer does not have a Middle Initial)
If the seller was billed recently, they may have a recent bill that is still not due, and that balance will be included on the Final Bill. The title company should communicate with the seller to ensure they are not sending in any payments to avoid a double payment and the need for a refund to either party. Payment of the balance due from the bill marked as “Final Bill” for the current utility account, along with any prior utility accounts for the same property with unpaid Final Bills, will eliminate the possibility of an unpaid bill being assessed to the new owner’s property taxes.
If the property is a rental, it is recommended that a final bill be obtained and that the buyer and seller have worked out an agreement on how to deal with any past due balances due by the tenant at the time of the sale. The seller needs to understand that if the tenant fails to pay any utility bill during their tenancy, those unpaid charges will ultimately become their responsibility, as the property owner, at the time of the annual tax transfer in November of each year.