Tap Fee Assessment

kriescherOctober 11, 2008

I have a question -- we purchased a home in 2006 in Texas. We were just assessed a tap fee that was never disclosed. Although this was a new home, we also did not build the home, we bought it from the people who built the home. They knew of this charge based on the documents we have been given, however, this fee was never disclosed to us. The water and meter were here when we moved in. The Water district did not set the fee until May of 2008 as this was a new community. Until that time no charges were made for water or the tap fee. The original invoice went to the sellers -- and we spent weeks tracking down the water company as we did not want to receive a water bill in the thousands. What I would like to know is shouldn't this fee be the resposibility of the sellers of the property? Or, at the very least, shouldn't this have been disclosed to us? Is this something we can have the title company look into? Thank you for any feedback.

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Boy, that's a bummer. So, you have been getting free water for over two years?

Honestly, yes, I think you should have been told that you would be responsible for the hook-up fee since they did not know at sales what it would be. But I think you have left out some important information when you presented it here.

You had to have had a clue in that period of time that you owed somebody money for two year's worth of water, since you weren't getting any bills. Did you already know they would be deferred until a tap fee was established? Do you expect the previous owners to pay your two year water bill, or just want reimbursement for the tap fee? In my area, that is a substantial amount, btw. Didn't you have any suspicions up to this point and be curious enough to check it out at any point in the last two years? Did you ever even call the water department at all, to put the account in your name?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 9:01PM
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Weren't you curious as to why you weren't getting billed for water? A fee that is non existant at the time of the sale and didn't exist until 2 years after the sale would be impossible to "disclose". You didn't do due diligence. In any are of the country, but especially where water is a scarce and an expensive commodity, it is up to the buyer to discover the $$ amount that it will cost them for their chosen location. The buyer merely has to disclose the source of that water, such as well, community well, or city. It's up to the buyer to discover any fees associated with the supply. It would be nice for the seller to have all of the utility or community fees in a info packet for any prospective buyers, but it's not mandatory information to "disclose".

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:31AM
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Under Texas law, you are responsible for only the last six months if water was covered by the utilties commission - however, water was moved to the environmental commission for some reason. Anything prior to that which was not billed to you would have been the utility's problem - as it is, I don't know if they retained the rule about backbilling being limited to the last six months or not.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 10:11PM
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