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Utility Liens and Shut-offs

This interactive tool provides guidance on whether and under what circumstances a local government utility in Washington State has a lien or is authorized to shut off service to enforce payment in specific situations.

For a more general overview of these topics, see our series on Utility Billing and Collection.

New legislation: Effective July 23, 2023, electric and water utilities are prohibited from disconnecting residential water or electric service due to nonpayment during heat-related events (see HB 1329). This bill includes a number of other related provisions, including requiring water and electric utilities to promptly make a reasonable attempt to reconnect service during a heat-related event if requested. For more information, see our blog post New Bills Address Utility Connection Charges, Service Disconnection for Non-Payment.

Get Started!

You will be asked a series of questions and guided, step by step, to an answer. The answer will include applicable legal authority, and, in some cases, an explanation as to why the utility may not pursue the remedy you selected.

Please select the municipality that owns and operates the utility.

Water-Sewer District

City or Town



Regarding General Use of Information:

These materials are informational and are subject to change without notice. MRSC and SAO have made good faith efforts to provide reliable interpretations of Washington State and federal law relating to utility liens and shut-offs. This information is not intended to supplant due diligence by your agency's staff, and your agency may have established additional requirements that are not reflected in this tool. Always consult your agency's legal counsel, policies, and ordinances before pursuing a utility lien or shut-off. Neither MRSC or SAO or any officer, or employee of MRSC or SAO warrants the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information or interpretation in these materials and shall not be liable for any losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of such information or interpretation. Neither MRSC nor SAO are legally bound by any information or interpretation set forth in these materials.