What is a Front Foot Fee?

    These fees are not related to the actual usage of water and sewer services, but are annual fees imposed by the builder or developer of your community to recover all or a portion of the costs of installing water and sewer components and systems for a community.  These fees continue for a period of time, typically 20 to 40 years, and are binding on all homeowners of the property until paid in full.

    What are other names for the Front Foot Benefit Charges?
    Front Foot Benefit Charges are also sometimes called Water and Sewer Facilities Assessments or Deferred Water and Sewer Charges.

    Why do the homeowners incur these charges?
    In the past, county governments or water companies installed the water and sewer lines to and in subdivisions and recouped the cost of construction over a period of years by a front foot benefit charge, typically as an addition to the real estate bill. However, MOST counties in Maryland no longer install these facilities in new subdivisions and require the developer of the community to construct and pay for them as part of the developer responsibilities. The developer then arranges for a company to construct the necessary facilities, with the costs to be recouped over a number of years to the private water and sewer company, consistent with the previous county system. The water authority has the ongoing responsibility for the maintenance of the water and sewer lines which have been dedicated for public use.

    Does this annual assessment cover my water bill?
    No, this charge is in addition to the usage charge. The water bill imposed by the utilities provider for water and sewer usage is based on the amount of water it supplies and sewage it processes.

    Can this charge be enforced?
    The front foot benefit charge is a legally enforceable charge, similar to homeowners association dues and condominium fees. Recordation of the right to collect the charges is in land records and is a lienable right against the property if not paid in a timely manner.

    Who must pay these charges?
    The owner of the home is responsible for paying the charges. You may be able to escrow the payments through your lender, similar to real estate taxes and insurance. If you have established an escrow, please forward a copy of the invoice to the escrow agent. However, the property owner remains liable for the payment.
    How should I have been aware of these charges?
    Upon execution of the contract to purchase your home, this charge should have been disclosed in the contract if you are the original owner of the property. In addition, the Declaration of Water and Sewer Charges is in public records and should have been disclosed by the title company upon their title search. If there was an outstanding balance on the property by the previous owner, your title insurance may cover the previous outstanding balance. If this is the case, please contact the title insurance company.

    What are the payment methods?
    The preferred method of payment is by check. Checks should be sent to the Company name on the invoice and mailed to the mailing address on the invoice. However, with the introduction of this website, you can now submit credit card payments on the website.

    Can you prepay the balance due?
    Yes, the balance due can be prepaid. The homeowner has the right to prepay at a discounted rate as outlined in the Declaration of Water and Sewer Charges. If interested in prepaying, please contact us via email and refer to your address.

     

    NOTICE REGARDING DISCLOSURE OF DEFERRED WATER AND SEWER ASSESSMENTS:
    Pursuant to Section 14-117(a)(5) of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a contract for the resale of residential real property that is served by public water or wastewater facilities for which deferred water and sewer charges have been established by a recorded covenant or declaration shall contain a notice disclosing information about the deferred water and sewer charges. If a Seller subject to this law fails to comply:

    (a) Prior to settlement, Buyer is entitled to rescind in writing the sales contract without penalty or liability. On
    rescission, Buyer is also entitled to the full return of any deposits made on account of the sales contract.
    If any deposits are held in trust by a licensed real estate broker, the return of the deposits to a Buyer under
    this law shall comply with the procedures under § 17-505 of the Business Occupations and Professions
    Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The right of rescission shall terminate five days after Seller
    provides to Buyer written notice in accordance with this requirement; and
    (b) After settlement, Seller shall be liable to Buyer for the full amount of any fee or assessment not disclosed, unless Seller was never charged a fee or assessment to defray the costs of public water

     

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