City of Chicago Water Certifications / Full Payment Certificates

–        Issued by City of Chicago, Department of Finance

A Water Certification / Full Payment Certificate (FPC) is an application for a final water bill.  Once paid it is a certificate stating all water / sewer charges for a property’s water account are paid.   This certificate is required for all transfers of real property (deeds and ABIs) in the City of Chicago.  Non-Exempt transfers have a $50 application fee added to the final water bill.  Exempt transfers have this fee waived.

The City of Chicago requires one of these documents for all Water Certification Applications:

  • A Copy of the Executed Deed for the intended transaction
  • Title Commitment Schedule A (must have the correct seller and buyer names)
  • Signed Sales Contract (cannot list seller as “OOR” or “Owner of Record” on page one)

Non-metered Accounts – Most older SFRs and two-flats have non-metered water accounts, billed at a flat rates of $200 every month.  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.  FPCs obtained online are valid for 60 days from the date they are set to a Ready status.

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.  FPCs obtained online are valid for 60 days from the last meter reading date.

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 at least two weeks.

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.