How to Transfer a Water Bill to a New Owner

When you buy a new home or property, one of the many things you’ll need to take care of is transferring the utilities like water, gas, and electricity into your name. For the water bill specifically, there are a few simple steps you’ll need to take to make sure billing goes smoothly after closing on your new place.

Notify the Water Department

The first thing you’ll want to do is notify your local water department that you are the new owner.

For example, in New York City, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) handles water and sewer bills. New owners must complete a Customer Registration Form to alert the DEP about the change in ownership.

This form provides the DEP with your contact information and billing address so they can send future water and wastewater bills to the right place.

Be sure to submit this form as soon as possible after closing. The sooner you get your information to the DEP, the less likely you are to miss any important billing notices.

Provide Documentation

When you submit the new owner registration form, you may need to provide documentation to prove you are the new legal owner.

For DEP customers in NYC, you’ll need to include:

  • A copy of the deed
  • Driver’s license or other photo ID
  • Social security number

Check with your local utility to see what specific documentation they require. Having these items ready will help speed up the registration process.

Confirm Transfer Date

Let the water department know the specific date you took ownership of the property.

This date is important because it determines when billing should transfer from the previous owner to you. The utility will prorate any final bills to the former owner based on the transfer date.

If you’re not sure of the exact date, check your closing documents or contact your real estate agent. Providing an accurate transfer date prevents any disputes over who owes for certain billing cycles.

Provide Meter Readings

To ensure accurate billing, take a picture of the water meter on the transfer date and note the current reading. Submit this with your new owner registration.

This reading will act as the starting point for your water usage. The utility will use it to calculate your first bill, rather than estimating usage before the transfer date.

Meter readings also help avoid situations where the former owner stops paying and service gets shut off before you take over the property.

Update Account & Contact Info

In addition to your name, be sure to provide the water department with your current mailing address and contact information like phone number and email.

You want to set up the account exactly how you want to receive bills and correspondence. Don’t rely on the previous owner’s contact info in their system.

Also take this opportunity to enroll in any online account access, paperless billing, or autopay options offered by the utility. The more you can automate, the easier bill paying will be.

Consider a Service Line Warranty

When you buy a home, consider purchasing a service line warranty to cover repairs to utility lines on your property.

For water lines specifically, this type of insurance can pay for costly repairs if your underground pipe leaks or breaks. Homeowner’s insurance does not typically cover this.

Getting warranty coverage as soon as you move in provides peace of mind that you won’t get stuck with a huge plumbing bill down the road.

Watch for the First Bill

Be on the lookout for your first water bill to arrive within a month or two after registering as the new owner and occupant.

Review it carefully to make sure your account is set up correctly, and the usage charges make sense based on the meter reading you provided at move-in.

If you see any errors or have questions, contact the billing department right away to get it corrected. It’s much easier to fix issues on the first bill rather than after multiple incorrect cycles.

Understand Billing Frequency

Know how often you will receive water bills – usually monthly or quarterly. This helps avoid late notices if a bill gets lost in the mail.

You can also ask the utility if they offer text or email alerts when a new bill is on the way or ready to view online. Proactive notifications can prevent missed payments and lapses in service.

Explore Ways to Reduce Usage

As a new homeowner, make it a priority to use water efficiently and identify leaks right away. This keeps your water bill as low as possible.

For example, in dry climates you may need to water lawns and landscaping. Look into installing smart sprinkler controllers to automatically adjust watering based on weather and conditions.

You can also request a free water conservation kit from the utility. These typically include low-flow faucet aerators, efficient showerheads, and other DIY upgrades to reduce usage inside your home.

Every little bit you can reduce makes a difference on your bill!

Set Up Autopay

Sign up for autopay or recurring automatic payments from your bank account. This ensures you never miss a payment deadline.

Many utilities give a small discount for enrolling in autopay too. Just be sure you review each bill so you know how much will be drafted.

Automatic payments prevent pointless late fees, service interruptions, and other headaches if a bill slips your mind one month.

Get Billing Help If Needed

If paying your water bill becomes a financial hardship, ask the utility about available billing assistance programs or extended payment plans.

For example, NYC DEP customers can apply for the Water Debt Assistance Program which helps qualified homeowners erase past due balances over time through monthly credits, as long as current bills are paid.

Don’t let an unaffordable bill pile up. Reach out early to find bill help or alternative payment arrangements.

Transferring a water account to a new owner doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you follow these key steps. Staying on top of registration, documentation, account setup, and billing will ensure a smooth transition to responsible utility management in your new home.


How do I put water in my name?


To put a utility in your name, you’ll need to show the provider proof of your identity, such as your ID, driver’s license, or birth certificate, and billing address, usually a lease agreement or piece of mail. In some cases, the company may also request documents related to your employment status or credit history.

How do I set up a water account in NYC?


Online Access: When the owner receives the first bill, they can register their account online using My DEP Account using the token on the bill. For more information visit Users can sign up for automatic payments, monthly billing and e-billing.

What happens if you don’t pay your water bill NYC?


What are the consequences of non-payment? Eligible customers who do not arrange for payment before the deadline on the lien sale notice will have their water and sewer charges sold in the lien sale.

How much does NYC charge for water?


Water Rates For the Fiscal Year that began on July 1, 2022, the metered rate for water is $4.30 per 100 cubic feet, and the combined water and sewer charge is $11.13 per 100 cubic feet. If you need additional information, please visit Customer Service.

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