When it comes to potential surprises at the closing table, water bills are worse than unexpected fees because they automatically become liens on the property. Commercial and residential water bills are treated very differently. For residential property, if the water bill is in the owner’s name then it becomes a lien on the property.
For Commercial property, every water bill is a lien on the property, no matter the name on the account.
Not every closing attorney checks for unpaid water bills as a part of their process. A commercial tenant starting out in a space wants to be sure they will have water service. A commercial real estate attorney negotiates the terms of the sale but rarely handles the title search for the property. They will appreciate working with a closing attorney who knows how to find unexpected liens on property.