Front Foot Benefit Charge or Fee

2 Replies

I have owned several single family homes throughout the United States. I have never heard of or encountered something called a Front Foot Benefit Charge (FFBC) until I moved to Anne Arundel county, Maryland.

This Front Foot Fee seems to go by several names such as Front Foot Benefit Charge or Assessment. But it all refers to the same thing. I actually backed out of a house deal because something just didn't smell right about this fee. It is not a tax, not a utility bill, not a one-time fee.

Additionally, it was not disclosed in the property listing. That appears to be a common practice. Of course it will be eventually disclosed to a buyer but that isn't the point. It needs to be in the listing because it's a significant expense which could exceed $20,000.

My question is – does anyone know what is the background history of this FFBC practice? I would like to know whose big idea was it ... when did it start... do other states do this?

Hey Gregory,

The front foot benefit charge is a way to pass on the cost of connecting a development to utilities onto an owner. That way a developer can make their properties seem cheaper. They come in two flavors -public and private. The public kind are a line item on the tax bill and don't have to be disclosed during sale. Private charges are not public record but do have to be disclosed during sale or you can back out. 

Thank you for the reply and yes, I believe you are correct. What I was hoping to figure out at some point was the background behind this Front Foot Fee. What gave birth to this practice... is it a law... an ordinance... or maybe some builders association paid off the county executive? I cannot find reference to this in any law. I was a licensed realtor in Illinois and never heard of a Front Foot Benefit Fee. The idea of billing the residents for a county infrastructure project seems wacky to me. That is what property taxes are for.