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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 116140
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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If there are specific regulations that would govern the

Customer Question

If there are specific regulations that would govern the cleanup (protocol) and/or reimbursements due after a sewer backup (as explained later in the message) affected quiet enjoyment and use and the providing of services in a licensed Pennsylvania assisted care facility; what are those regulations and where can the regulatory language and/or citations be found?Here's some background:Last Tuesday the sewers backed up into my 92 year old mother's one bedroom apartment (about 750 s.f) in a Pennsylvania assisted living facility. My mother was taken out of her apartment for the day and than sent back to her apartment Tuesday evening.Wednesday evening (the day after the sewer back-up), when I visited my mother:1. I found her bathroom to smell less than flower fresh.2. When I opened my mother's bedroom closet (adjacent the bathroom on a shared wall), I discovered the carpet in the closet was wet, her clothes touching the floor were wet and stained, and plastic containers on the closet floor were wet.3. About 10' distant from the closet with the wet carpet, across the bedroom, I discovered that the underside of plastic containers resting on the carpeted bedroom floor were wet.4. I noticed my Mother's voice had become quite husky, as if she was getting sick.5. My eyes started to itch and I began to sneeze.6. I learned that fans had been placed in my mother's apartment to dry it out, after the sewer backup.After departing my mother's apartment, I started to itch; I broke out with a rash and some itchy bumps on my chest.Three weeks ago my mother suffered a heart attack and a stroke. She was discharged from the hospital a week ago. She gets around (not easily) in a wheel chair. She needs all of the assistance that we buy for her in the monthly fee.After some consideration, Wednesday night I took my mother from her assisted living apartment and checked us in at a nearby hotel at a cost of about $140/night.My mother pays nearly $5000 a month of rent, each moth in advance, to the assisted living facility.After I took my mother to a hotel for two days, fed and cared for her 24/7, my mother has returned to the assisted care facility. She is now in a different one-bedroom apartment than was sewer-effected. The new apartment was equipped with a single bed, one bedside table with a lamp on it, and an easy chair. After we requested them, towels and soap and toilet paper were provided.All my mother's belongings that were in her apartment when we departed the old apartment Wednesday night, are locked in her old apartment. In her effected-apartment were about 25 lineal feet of hanging goods, mostly coats and dresses, perhaps 15 cubic feet of sweaters and shirts that were arranged in plastic storage containers; some 60s modernism upholstered furniture, various tables and chairs, framed original artwork, electric equipment, and a variety of other personal effects; she had worked in the high fashion business in NYC.Today, we were instructed by the management of the assisted living facility not to enter my mother's apartment until next Tuesday, because an air sampling test is being conducted; but some people think the real reason access is being restricted is because the sewer-effected apartment was sprayed with chemicals to arrest the mold and bacterial growth that was likely growing.My mother is highly adversely reactive to chemical treatments and sprays; and the assisted living facility is aware of her sensitivities and has long been under orders not to use insecticides or fungicides in her living space.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
There is no statute specifically regarding this. If the sewer back up was the result of a defect in an area of the sewers that the city is responsible for, then they are liable for any damages caused by the back up into a residence. This includes clean up and repair of any damage and remediation as required. So, any and all damages resulting from this back up would be liability of the city ONLY if the back up came from a defect in the part of the line that was the duty of the city to maintain. If the defect was in a part of the line that the building owner was to maintain, then the building owner is liable for her damages. A plumber must make this determination so you know which party to submit a damage claim for the actual damages and copies of all receipts to for reimbursement. If they refuse to pay, then you can sue them for the damages.
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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Apparently someone clogged the sewer line with an orange, and the sewage backed up into a number of first floor apartmentsI thought I heard some discussion about sewage being a "category 3" contaminant, and that there was a requirement that all carpets must be replaced if contaminated with a category 3 contaminant.Does this ring a bell?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes it does have to be properly remediated, but it is not the city government that would have to do that if the blockage was in an area of the pipe belonging to the building, the building is liable together with your mom's insurance that she has on her property.

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