Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
My sewer line is tied into my neighbor’s and they are backing up into the house. I had a plumbing service come in and they ran their line and said the problem was not in our line. So I called the City Water and Sewer Department and they sent someone to inspect the main drain to see if it was clogged and it was not.
Both the plumber and the City worker said that they believe it is the neighbor’s line that is causing the problem and there is a good possibility that his tree roots could have broken the pipe. I have left a complaint with the Health Department about this. Is there anything else I can do to make him check into this problem and fix it if it was caused by his trees or tenants? If it is something that both of us are responsible for I have no problem paying my share, but so far he hasn’t seemed to care, and this is not the first time his rental has had sewage backup. But it is the first time it has affected my home. I don’t think I should share in the expense of paying someone to run a camera or dig up the pipe to check it out, since I have already paid for a plumber to inspect my lines. What should I do?
If your neighbor already hasn’t responded to your requests, you might want to escalate this by talking to an attorney. Sometimes, a letter from a lawyer will get people’s attention.
I would certainly argue that if your neighbor was notified of the risk and didn’t do anything about it, then he would be responsible for any damages caused to your home by backups he could have prevented.