Let us save you time. Agents like ourselves with Chicago FPC Service are able to process multiple FPC's and are vetted in the Water Department system allowing for a quicker approval time and with higher accuracy.
The City of Chicago requires a Full Payment Certificate (FPC) for all transfers of real estate. An FPC is a certificate issued by the City of Chicago Department of Finance indicating that all water and sewer charges and penalties that accrued to a water account are paid in full or otherwise not transferrable to the subsequent owner. A completed FPC Application serves as a request to the Department of Finance to transfer service out of the transferor's name in into the transferee's name. Without an FPC, the parties will not be able to obtain the City of Chicago Real Property Transfer Tax stamps, which are required to record the property deed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
Need assistance with other City of Chicago or Cook County services? Please visit our related website, Illinois Abstract Service.
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A Full Payment Certificate (FPC) is issued by the Department of Finance in conjunction with the Chicago Water Department to verify that utilities are paid current before any real estate can be transferred. The City of Chicago Water Certification requires a FPC Certificate before issuing the City of Chicago transfer stamps, without the Chicago municipal transfer stamps the Cook County Recorder will not record the real estate transfer.
The FPC is required for even for exempt transfers. If the Water Certification is not obtained, “both the transferor and the transferee will be jointly and severally liable for any outstanding utility charges, penalties, and applicable fees that have accrued to the account.”
How to Obtain an FPC - General Tips
Application and Fee: In order to obtain a FPC or Full Payment Certificate, an application with a Chicago Water Certification Fee of $50.00 shall be made to the Department of Finance. Provided, however, if the property is exempt from the Real Property Transfer Tax, the FPC application fee shall not be charged, if appropriately marked on the application. Any outstanding account balance from your City of Chicago Water Bill will need to be paid to complete the certification process. Online application or the City of Chicago Water Certification paper application form
The Chicago Water Certification FPC requires uploading additional supporting Information: One of the following required documents must be submitted; Copy of the deed for the intended transaction, Schedule A of the title commitment or a signed sales contract.
Ready Status and Certification: The FPCs are valid for about 60 days from the “Ready Status” date. If your FPC expires, you must resubmit a new application. A payment link will be emailed to the email listed on your application. The Chicago Water Department suggests 10 business days for processing.
Water FPC Terminology
Non-metered Accounts – Most older SFRs and two-flats have non-metered water accounts, billed every six months. These accounts are billed the flat rate regardless of occupancy or usage, and the rate is based on building/lot sizes, property type, and the fixture count.]
Metered Accounts – Large Residential, Commercial, and all New Construction have metered accounts, which are billed based on usage, every two months. Final meter readings are sometimes required before final water bills are issued.
Condo Units – An FPC for a condo unit confirms that the association’s water account is in good standing, and no water bill is assessed against the condo unit. Paid assessment letters are not required.
Foreclosures – Upon presentment of an FPC with an unrecorded Judicial Sale deed attached, the City will prorate a water account. Water charged assessed prior to the date of execution will be the responsibility of the former owner. The foreclosing lender or judicial sale purchaser will be responsible for charges that accrue after the date of execution.
Final Meter Readings – When the City has not obtained an actual meter reading within the last 60 days, a final meter reading is required before the City issues a final water bill and Full Payment Certificate. This process takes approximately one week.
Field Review – An internal process where the Department of Water Management assesses a legal description to determine or confirm the applicable water account(s). This process takes 2-5 business days. This process is required for all vacant lots, and some Commercial / Large Residential.
Online FPC – The City issues many FPCs to registered users online. These FPCs have “final” water bills when set to Ready, but the balances due may go up at any time due to new bills or penalties. The balances may also go down due to payments by property owners.
Water Liens – A release of lien will be issued by the City if the water balance is zero, and if there is a recent meter reading (if metered account). Payoff Letters are not needed / not issued if there is a Ready online FPC. The balance due on an online Ready FPC serves as the payoff amount due.
About Chicago Lien Releases
Chicago Sewer and Water Lien : The City of Chicago has no limitations on statute of limitations, on this type of municipal lien. You can attempt to negotiate a settlement your water account Full Payment Certificate (FPC).
When a water or sewer bill becomes delinquent, those charges become a lien upon the real estate for which the service is supplied. That is the case even if the water or sewer service charge was incurred by a tenant. The notice of lien may then be filed in the recorder’s office.
A release of lien will be issued by the City if the balance is zero. Payoff Letters are not needed and not issued if there is a Ready online FPC. Balance currently owed online Ready FPC serves as the payoff amount due.
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