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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16379
Experience:  13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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What rights does a home owner have in using the public water supply, can a city stop a hom

Customer Question

what rights does a home owner have in using the public water supply, can a city stop a home owner from connecting to the municipal water supply, utility service?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 2 years ago.
Hello there.
Unfortunately, the answer to your question is "YES". It is completely up to the municipality to determine what the capacity of the system is and how many homes and businesses can hook into the public utility services, as well as the timing and scheduling of when new homes and businesses can be permitted to connect to the public utility services unless the homeowner or business owner has some pre existing written agreement or permission with the municipality to permit such hook ups when the property owner is ready. For example, there are many cases where a developer builds hundreds of homes in one area for many years and at the beginning of the project, the developer will negotiate an agreement with the municipality for the hook ups of so many homes at an agreed upon pace and if such an agreement exists, then the municipality has no right to refuse an owner's hookup request if made many years later due to the terms of the original agreement between the developer / seller of the owner's home and the municipality.
I do suggest that if the municipality has a waiting list then the owner should apply to be placed upon the list (I suggest this for a home that is either already built and using their own private services or if it is partially completed and the owner can afford to place private services for the building use until a hook up becomes available). The owner should also check the title documents going as far back as possible because there may be something on record stating what the public utilities are that are available to the property and there may be an agreement for a hook up in the actual chain of title -- as a matter of fact, my own house has such a confirmation from the water and sewer department in the city that I live in that a payment was made by the owner in 1966 to hook into the city services when those services finally reached our street on the outskirts of the city which was noted in the document to be anticipated to happen within the next several years (and in fact the house was hooked up to the city services based upon that recorded agreement in 1969 ). So, a title search might be in order here to determine if there was every any agreements to bring the public utilities out to your property and any agreements to permit the house to be hooked into it.
In the event that there is nothing on record to assist you and the municipality cannot even give you a time frame when this will happen, then if the owner of the property just recently purchased this property from a seller and/or realtor who assured the buyer that the municipal water and sewer were readily available to hook up to the house and that there would be no issues or problems with gaining access to a hook up into the system, then such a buyer does have grounds for a lawsuit against the seller and the realtor because this is a major non disclosure issue in Missouri (and it just might rise to the level of deliberate misrepresentation and concealment of a major house systems issue IF there is no private services at the property or the private water/septic is so badly damaged that it would cost a lot of money to bring the property up to a liveable or working condition so that the private water/septic systems can be repaired and the property put into use for the buyer who just purchased the property).
Because your question was somewhat general in nature and I could not determine whether you were a seller or a buyer or an existing owner who has owned the property for a number of years but is now deciding to try to hook into the public water and sewer systems.
So I answered the question providing as much information as I could based upon the information that you gave to me above. However, if you have further details that you would like to add to your questions above and/or you have additional questions that you would like me to answer after you have read through this answer i have posted for you, please feel free to ask as many follow up and clarification questions as you would like on these issues. I am happy to answer any such additional follow up questions in this thread even after a positive rating is pressed in the rating section and note to you that your question will never close so if you get more information a few weeks or months down the line on these issues and you would like to return to this session you simply have to come to the Just Answer website and open this question in your account and post the additional information and questions into a response box and I am very happy to answer those additional questions at that time as well so long as you have pressed a positive rating in the ratings section so that I am paid for my time assisting you this evening and for anything in the future that you might like to return to ask after reviewing the answer and possibly obtaining more information that you would like me to review and comment upon at that time.
I hope that helps and again -- please add anything you want to add to your question above AND ask me any follow up or clarification questions that you want to ask in a response box below. If you have nothing additional at this time, can you please press a positive rating in the rating section below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating before leaving the website (we do not receive paychecks and are only paid when a customer presses a neutral or a positive rating in the ratings section). Again, if you have no further questions right now, then so long as you press a positive rating you can return at any time for several months to ask additional follow up and clarification questions if you get more information later or need further clarification on any point at a later date.