Homeowners in New York City who are facing a foreclosure of their primary residence can get help with their water bills from the Water Debt Assistance Program. While not the focus of the resource, there can sometimes be referrals given to other residents who rent an apartment or that are just struggling to keep up with ever increasing costs of water service.
The program was created to provide temporary relief to homeowners who are at risk of a foreclosure on their home. After an application is submitted, and if found qualified, it can help those qualified individuals pay their past-due water and sewer bills and any outstanding debts. The program is limited in scope, and only families or individuals who are both faced with a foreclosure and who have received a 15-Day Service Termination Notice or a fully fledged Service Termination Warning may apply for assistance from the program.
If after applying for the program you are found to be eligible, the Water Debt Assistance Program will ensure that the homeowner’s service is not shut off until the foreclosure matter has been resolved one way or another. The program will in effect defer the payment due on the outstanding water bills and debts until the property is either refinanced, sold, or the owner has the ability to pay the bills.
The criteria to be found eligible for the program include, but are not limited, to the following. The NYC homeowner must have more than $500 in unpaid water bills for at least six months. The applicant needs to also have received either a 15-day Service Termination Notice or a warning letter from their provider. The home needs to be only a one family home and owner occupied. The owner can’t contest or argue against the bills, and the homeowner must acknowledge the existing water and sewer debt as valid.
This is a temporary solution only. Therefore the homeowner must also agree to pay all future water bills or the home in question will be placed back on the Service Termination list. In addition the property owner must enter into a binding agreement that the outstanding medical debts will be paid in full on or before the home being foreclosed on is transferred, sold, or refinanced.
There are some income tests as well, as the NYC Debt Assistance Program is not intended to help reckless homeowners or be a charity program. So the owner must be deemed as qualified by the city through a well developed means-test, which will evaluate the owner's full financial situation to determine their ability to pay the arrears on their account and bills going forward.
Another requirement is a binding agreement that is required and must be entered into with the city. The terms of this need to be adhered too as well.
If a homeowner applies and is accepted into the program, the owner must enter into a guaranteed, binding agreement with NYC agency running the DEP program stating that the outstanding water bills are valid. After this has been done, they also need to agree all debts on the account and other bills will be paid on or before the sale or refinancing of the home. The agreement must also say that the owner needs to pay all future and current charges on time or that the agreement may be voided and the property will be placed back on the Water Service Termination list.
In order to apply for water bill assistance, you need to bring an application and supporting backup and documentation to the Borough Office near you. The addresses and hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Applicants need to bring additional documentation as well, such as proof of residency, home loan information, and more. The addresses of the Water Debt Assistance Program offices are.
Staff on site will review your application and determine if you are eligible. If found to be qualified you will need to enter into an agreement and contract with New York City and the water department as indicated above.
Like this site?