Water Meters & My Credit Rating

The City is charging most of us $300 to install a water meter.  According to my “Water Meter Installation Bill”, I have the choice of paying the $300 by Jun 30th, 2011 in one, lump sum or having $8.52 added to my utility bill for 36 months.  For me, that decision is a “no brainer” … pay it off by the month and use the $300 to buy groceries and gas.

However, in the City’s letter, I’m cautioned that if I take the payment plan, a lien will be placed on my property.  On the surface that doesn’t seem too bad.  After all, it’s only $300 for three years … right?  Well, here’s what my small brain began to think and why I’m asking for help to understand the implications.  I realize and accept that I won’t be able to sell or transfer ownership of my property until the debt to the City is paid off,  but what about my credit rating and the answers to these questions?

1)  Will the lien be seen as something more ominous than it is?
2)  Will the lien be classified as “consensual” or “involuntary”?
3)  Will the lien affect my credit score?
4)  Will my ability to get a loan or refinance my home be impacted?
5)  Will my ability to get a low interest rate on a loan be affected?
6)  If I’m in a rush to get a good interest rate, how long will it take the City to officially release the lien and for the credit bureaus to take it off my report?
7)  How will this lien affect other creditors in bankruptcy proceedings?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m starting to wonder if I should pay off the $300 and forget the payment plan.

by Concerned Citizen

About LODI360 Editor

Keith Colgan is the Editor of and owner of Keith Colgan Photography


4 thoughts on “Water Meters & My Credit Rating

  1. The “lien”is not really a lien. It is a notice of pre-lien informing the property owner the City of Lodi has the right to lien the property to collect the money for the water meter should the homeowner not pay. It is not reported to any credit agency unless you default on payment. If you have any work done on your property, the contractor will normally file a pre-lien notice and after payment in full, the contractor should recind their lien rights. You should get a notice of the pre-lien filing and after you have satisfied the cost of the water meter, you should get a notice the lien rights have been recinded. I chose to pay in monthly installments. The additional cost is only $6.72 for the three year installments. Pretty cheap money. I may opt to pay off the total AFTER my meter is installed, I haven’t made that decision yet.

    Posted by Anonymous | August 28, 2011, 9:16 am
    • I checked out what you said about “pre-liens” in your post and it seems to be correct. So it’s a right to lien that is being preserved by the City. I should have saved my $300.

      Posted by Anonymous | August 28, 2011, 1:34 pm
  2. I could be wrong, but when a lien is placed upon any piece of property, isn’t the owner supposed to be officially notified by the entity recording the lien; or is it just recorded and then becomes a “nice” surprise at the time when the owner decides to do something like buy a new car, boat or just wants to sell the house?

    Posted by Jerome R Kinderman | May 14, 2011, 2:59 pm
  3. I’m sure paying the 300.00 up front is the better choice. Don’t forget there will be interest as well

    Posted by Michelle | May 7, 2011, 1:42 pm

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