Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

Latecomer Agreements FAQs

What utility work is eligible for a Latecomer Agreement?

Projects with utility system improvements required as a condition of property development are eligible to apply for a Latecomer Agreement. These utility system improvements generally mean extensions and upsizing of water, sewer, or drainage mainlines and associated appurtenances. The utility system improvements may also include pumping stations, disposal plants, and reservoirs required by code as a condition of development.

Eligible utility system improvements do not include utility work required due to street improvements. Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • Hydrant or valve relocation required (due to conflicts of realigning sidewalks and curbs, etc).
  • Inlet and catch basin installation or replacement (due to construction impacts or realigned sidewalks and curbs, etc).
  • Stormwater facilities required by the Stormwater Code triggered by pavement work in the Right of Way or voluntarily installed at the discretion of the developer.

Can I include multiple utilities in one Latecomer Agreement?

Each Latecomer Agreement applies to only one utility: water, sewer, or drainage. If a project has requirements for multiple utilities, the project may elect to choose a Latecomer Agreement for only one utility, or separate Latecomer Agreements for different utilities.

How long does a Latecomer Agreement last?

The state law requires utility Latecomer Agreements to last for 20 years. If the Agreement expires and a benefitting parcel has not made a reimbursement payment, the benefitting parcel will not be required to pay the reimbursement.

How does the originating developer partner up front with benefitting parcels?

An originating developer can partner with owners of benefitting parcels to facilitate new connections to the new utility. In such cases, it may benefit all parties to reach a civil agreement so that the originating developer is paid an equitable amount to the pro rata share up front, and the benefitting parcel is not burdened with the Latecomer Encumbrance recorded against its title. For example, if the estimated pro rata share for a benefitting parcel is $1,000, the originating developer might accept $950 from the benefitting parcel owner and then mark that benefitting parcel as ‘exempt’ from future payment.

In the Latecomer Agreement, the originating developer can identify any benefitting parcel as exempt from future payment. This decision may be accompanied by a civil agreement between the originating developer and the owner of the benefitting parcel—the City will not be involved in this civil agreement. Any exempt benefitting parcel will not have an encumbrance recorded against the property at the King County Recorder’s Office. This benefits the originating developer because they must pay the up-front costs to record the encumbrance against each benefitting parcel.

How does the originating developer assign a new beneficiary?

After a Latecomer Agreement is commenced, the originating property owner (developer) may assign the rights and responsibilities of the Latecomer Agreement to a new entity. Use the ‘New Assign’ form (pdf) to assign a new beneficiary of the Latecomer Agreement. The form must be notarized for both the existing and new beneficiary’s signatures, and a completed W9 form for the new beneficiary must be included.

What are the requirements to keep contact information up to date?

By State Law, the beneficiary of a Latecomer Agreement must provide current contact information to the City every two years. If the beneficiary fails to comply, the City may collect and keep any reimbursement payment owed to the beneficiary under the Latecomer Agreement.

What’s the process to reimburse the originating developer?

When SPU collects a reimbursement payment from a benefitting parcel, it will remit the payment to the beneficiary on record. If the beneficiary on record cannot be contacted or is not responsive, SPU may keep the reimbursement payment.