Plumbing repairs are often straightforward. With all our experience, there isn’t much that the technicians at Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning haven’t seen. But there’s one issue that’s a little harder to address: how to undertake repairs when you’re not sure who owns the pipes — and who should be footing the bill.
Who’s Responsible for Plumbing in Detached Homes?
If you own a ranch, bungalow, or other detached home, plumbing repairs are your responsibility in your home — but you probably already knew that. Where things get complicated is when you get outside those four walls. When something goes wrong outside, who’s responsible then? What if you need water main repair, sewer line repair, or video pipe inspection? Do you call the town, or do you call a Sacramento plumber?
The answer lies deep underground, in the structure of the pipes serving your home. There are mains — the larger pipes that serve your neighborhood, typically running under or parallel to the street — and there are lateral pipes, also called service pipes. Those branch off the mains, carrying water to your home and carrying waste from your home to the main sewage system.
If there’s a mains problem, that’s the responsibility of your municipality. However, problems with service pipes are the homeowner’s responsibility. When the nature and source of the problem are in question, we can use video sewer inspection to pinpoint the source and advise you on how to proceed.
Who’s Responsible For Plumbing in Condos and HOAs?
Here’s where things get complicated. When they do their jobs, a homeowner’s association (HOA) can be a help, arranging trash pickup and taking care of the repairs and maintenance in common areas so you don’t have to. Some homeowners find their HOA fees are balanced out by the time and money saved in other areas. However, they can also be a source of stress; that’s especially true when multiple dwellings are attached, sharing common walls, common plumbing, and even elements of the same HVAC and hot water systems. So when something goes wrong, whose responsibility is it?
Here, the issue is the source of the problem. Sometimes that’s straightforward. If something needs repair or replacement in the space you clearly own — you need a toilet replacement, or you want new plumbing fixtures — give us a call. Where things get complicated is in the event of a leak or blockage. If it comes from a neighboring tenant, that person would customarily foot the bill for repairs in the units affected. If, on the other hand, the leak, clog, or other issue stems from common plumbing (that is, plumbing shared by two or more units), that’s the HOA’s responsibility to repair or replace.
When In Doubt: Establishing Responsibility for Plumbing Repairs
Many homeowners in HOA properties find themselves in a cycle of deflection and blame-shifting since, after all, nobody really wants to pay for repairs if they don’t have to. And if you’re a property owner, of course you don’t want to go to all the trouble of making repairs on something that may not be your responsibility, much less your fault.
So what’s the solution? It’s threefold:
- Regardless of where you’re living, know your rights and responsibilities.
- Take the time to schedule plumbing maintenance, and don’t wait to have small repairs done; those small issues can mushroom, and when they do, nothing good comes of it.
- Never hesitate to get a second opinion, especially when your HOA has a maintenance team that’s under contract to handle repairs; there’s often an unspoken responsibility to pass the buck — and the bill — from the HOA to homeowners.
For plumbing repair in the Sacramento area, or for expert diagnostics that save you money and save your sanity, get in touch with Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning today!