Leaking Basement - Baltimore City

8 Replies

The Baltimore City rental property that I own is a row home (middle unit) and has never had issues with basement leaks. With the recent rain storms, the unit is now leaking in the basement.

The leaks don't happen in the front of the house or in the back of the house. It's leaking from under the shared party wall in the middle of the house. Is this a roof issue? Has anyone experienced this before? Anyone have an advice on who I should call? HELP!!

Is there waterproofing on your walls? Do you have a sump pump? Is there a small crack possibly in the cement slab?  I have a few rentals here in Baltimore and am just trying to gather more information.  If you want send me a PM.

@Sean Monahan - no sump pump and waterproofing done. There's no cracks in the foundation also. I think it might be seeping in from the neighborhood or coming between the party wall. 

What other info could I connect you with? 

Is the house next door vacant or occupied?

If occupied, talk to the owner and see if you can take a look at their basement. You might be able to find the cause of the leak.

If vacant, try contacting the owner.

It's best if you can find the source of the leak to stop it, but if you can't, try using hydraulic cement and/or DryLok™ on the leaking wall.  

@Alan C. you bring up a good point, the neighbor's unit is vacant. Before the vacancy, my rental never flooded. Now that it's vacant, there have been some water puddling. I'm gonna reach out to the owner. 

You may not get much even if you can find the owner. 

If that fails, contact Baltimore Housing and file a complaint. That will trigger code violations and fines if the problem is not corrected. If the property is vacant long enough, it could cause the owner more problems. 

By the way, what is the zip code where your property is located?

I went through a similar issue a few years ago with a row home I managed in Baltimore County.  The house next door was occupied by less than helpful renters who refused to let us in.  It ended up being an issue with an underground water line and we did have to call the Baltimore City water/sewer division to get the issue resolved.  It took multiple phone calls and several weeks to get them to come out (typical Baltimore City foolishness LOL), but they finally came out and repaired the line.  I would suggest you call them and have them come out to at lease eliminate that possibility.

99% sure it's one of the following:

  • Roof leaking into foundation seeping to the bottom of house
  • Downspout overflow or spillage seeping to bottom of house
  • Sumppump back up or not working
  • Air compressor leak from HVAC unit if central air
  • Clogged sewer line (if toilets are having difficulty flushing)
  • Water forming a reservoire outside due to unsloped ground (need to have a downslope from house to keep water flowing away from foundation)
  • *Next door unit experiencing one of the above