Tenant Sewage Hell

I recently bought a new 3 bedroom 2 bath house rental property. It has been some years and I had grown rusty, making some mistakes with the closing, financing and rehab. None fatal. I was trying to be diligent. The home was professionally inspected, I went ahead and spent some money on ceramic tiling the whole floor. I was choosy with the tenant selection, doing credit and criminal checks on all serious applicants. The tenant and family moved in. Then the sewer erupted into the house.

And the fun began. It erupted on a Saturday. Ever try to find a plumber on Saturday? Forget it. The tenants items were soaked. I called a professional plumber for the first of 3 times. They came 5 days later and put a cable down the sewer line ($225) and all seemed well for a week.

Then the sewer erupted again. This time at midnight. I packed my wet vacuum into the car and went there immediately. Sure enough the tub was full of what looked like sewer water, it had overflowed into the house, soaking their items again. I vacuumed approximately 40 gallons of water out of the house and tub. I left the wet vacuum there with instructions to use it in case of further eruption.

I called the plumber again. They came and cabled it again (no charge) saying they would come back with a camera. Some days later they returned with a camera ($350) and found that the good news was that it had all PVC plumbing in the ground from a previous foundation repair. The bad news was that there was a flat spot that was probably full of grease and it was in a 4 inch pipe that could only be accessible by a 2 inch pipe so the blade on their cable would not do an adequate job. Thus I needed a clean out installed to access the 4 inch pipe. Fine, I thought.

That was a Thursday. The sewer erupted again on Monday. Tenant calls me after business hours. The plumber is not available. This time the tenant vacuumed it up with my wet vac but was pretty irate. By then so was I. I called the plumber again saying I really needed a resolution of this problem now. Plumber is coming out today to cable it a third time with a return tomorrow to dig the pipe up and put a 4 inch clean out and cable it with a large blade ($650 with a $100 discount).

Stay tuned.