Tenant Responsible for Sewer Pipe?

10 Replies

I have a family member that asked me about an issue he's having with his current landlord. I told him I'd ask the community to see what everyone thinks.

He and his family are currently renting in Colorado. They've been in the same single family house for the past 4-5 years. There have been some issues with the sewer line or sewer pipe going from the house to the street. In the newest lease, the landlord is attempting to make him responsible for any repairs needed that have to do with this pipe. He got an estimate from a plummer that said it would be $12-$15K to fix this issue, having to dig way into the ground, etc.

I told him that my best guess is that this is NOT something he should be responsible for. I believe this one is on the landlord.

What do you guys think?

Absolutely the landlord's responsibility. I just spent about $6000 to replace one at one of my rentals. Have a working sewer is a reasonable expectation of a tenant.

landlords responsibility for sure.

... unless there is gross neglect by the tenant. In your scenario, I don't think this is the case.

Almost certainly owners responsibility. Having a plumbing background and doing this many times for landlords, he would have to prove a history of the tenants neglect. Many times I have gone to a rental to clean a drain for a landlord and he is sitting there watching and waiting for me to pull the snake out to see what caused the blockage. If it's roots or old pipes, they ask me to bill them. If it's toys, rags, or other things that shouldn't be in a drain line I am asked to bill the tenant. I usually bill the landlord anyway and let him go after the tenant for the simple fact that I didn't do business that way. I usually billed whoever calls me unless all parties are in agreement in front of me.

having had to replace quite a few in Denver, $12-15k is a total rip off. 4-7k is most likely. And landlords responsibility.

Yes, in Denver $12-$15k is a total rip-off UNLESS your sewer line runs under the driveway. I had one like this. Got a shiny new driveway out of the deal, too.

They do make an item, I believe called a mole, which bores a hole under your driveway. It is not something that most companies will have so they won't bid on the job thinking about it. I have used one once and had to rent it. it was pretty cool and far cheaper than replacing a driveway. Just a tip for others that run into this.

Unless he's flushing explosive devices down the toilet then no. If he's flushing diapers down the toilet then he should be responsible for having the RotoRooter man come out for $300-$400. I had to replace the sewer in a rental a couple years back because the old clay pipes broke down and wouldn't have dreamed of asking the tenant to take care of it. Sounds like he needs to find a new place to live if the owner is going to make him sign something like that.

I think what you're asking is whether the tenant should sign something making him responsible for repairs to the line in the future. If you're asking about whether the tenant is currently responsible, you're getting varied responses because we don't have enough information. It ultimately depends on the facts of the circumstances (why the problem occurred - whether the pipes are just falling apart or the tenant flushed something inappropriate down the toilet) and the language in the lease. Either of those things could place the responsibility on either party.

If you are asking about whether the tenant should sign something making him/her responsible in the future, I certainly never would, but if the place is worth it to them, that's their decision.

I agree it's the Landlord's responsibility

We just sold a home to a middle-aged Vet who was renting a run down POS.

When attempting to get back their security deposit the landlord refused saying she had to replace the 20 yr old fce because of their neglect !!!!

They have receipts for the p.a. fce servicing they had done (but not required in the lease). Being the Town Justice she told them 'good luck'.

So they are reluctant to fight it.

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