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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35402
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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I have a PA rental that has a basement drain into the city

Customer Question

I have a PA rental that has a basement drain into the city sewer system. The sewer drain outside got clogged and caused inhouse sewer water and feces to back up into the basement. The city came out and cleared the clogged but the damage is done with water and sewage. Who pays for this mess?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon Mike,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. Was the blockage between your property and the main line (likely located under the street), or was the blockage in the city's main line?

2. When you ask who pays, are you referring to you and the utility, or are you including the tenant in that question?

Doug

Customer: replied 2 months ago.

The blockage was between my property and the sewer outside. You can look in the sewer and see the clog. The city cleared it. Im not factoring any payment from the tenant, just the city, insurance,..?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon Mike,

Thanks for the clarification.

As I said, my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. Please don't confuse excellent service with a satisfactory outcome based on your wants and desires. I can only explain the law to you---not guarantee that you will be happy with the outcome---any more than a cancer surgeon can guarantee a cure.

Because the clog was between your home and the street, you are liable for the expenses of clean-up and repairs related to the contamination. The city/utility's only legally responsible for damage caused by a blockage in their owned sections of the system. You are the legal owner of the line from your house to the point where it connects to the city's mail line.

Hopefully, the city will not bill you for clearing the blockage, but I'm afraid that you are responsible for the repairs/remediation from here.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

I hope that I have been able to fully answer your question. As I am not an employee of JustAnswer, please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am compensated for assisting you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,

Doug

Customer: replied 2 months ago.

Would homeowner's insurance help here?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 months ago.

Hi Mike,

I have never seen a homeowner's policy that covered a sewage back up due to a clog, or tree roots. I'm afraid that your policy---be it a landlord policy or a homeowner policy, is the same as the hundreds that I have seen in my career, and sewage backups won't be a covered claim. I am sorry.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,

Doug

Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 months ago.

Hi,

Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Doug

Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 months ago.

It is possible that your questions and issues might be better served by an in-depth conversation with me. If you are interested, for a very nominal charge I can offer you a private phone conference.

Please know that I answered your question in good faith, providing you with the information that you asked for, and I did that with the expectation that you would act likewise and rate my service to you. If I have already provided you with the information you asked for and you have no additional questions, would you please now rate my service to you so I can be compensated for assisting you?

Thanks in advance,

Doug

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