After a foreclosed property has sold and the title has transferred, one of the first decisions that new title-holders must make is when (if at all) to turn off the utilities to their new home. While every sale is unique and comes with its own set of determiners, laws governing this transaction explicitly detail the process for shutting off utilities, such as water and electricity.

The duty of covering continuing utility costs fall to the new title holder and includes the accruement of fees for services such as garbage pickup, street cleaning, and sewage in addition to electricity and water. While they are entitled to immediate ownership of foreclosed properties, new title-holders must follow the proper practice of obtaining a writ before attempting to shut off utilities. This law remains active to protect against the act of “self-help eviction,” or the intention of evicting a tenant from a property without proper authority.

In many situations, tenants who haven’t violated the contract agreed upon with the initial owner occupy the marketed foreclosed property. When a new lender, investor, or owner assumes possession of the property, they cannot shut off the property’s utilities until the present tenant has vacated. New agreements can be made with the current tenant to continue or cease residency, but they are protected from eviction by the new owner for a brief period of time.

Many utility companies provide options for services to be turned on or off for a specified amount of time without requiring a large deposit to be made. Just to be safe, though, new title-holders should check the local policies and laws governing foreclosed properties before attempting to purchase.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.