Is a landlord liable for a septic tank problem?

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2011

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Is a landlord liable for a septic tank problem?

My daughter owns her mobile home but is renting the lot. Her sewer system is backing up. We came to find out that she and 2 other trailers are on the same septic tank. Is this legal? The landowner does not want to fix the problem.

Asked on June 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the septic is owned or maintained by the landlord and it is backing up, then the landlord must deal with the problem (unless as below). All leases include an implied warranty of habitability, or a requirement that the premises rented by fit for their purpose. A trailer lot leased with septic would have to have working septic and hygenienic septic. If it's backing up, this could be violating the implied warranty of habitablity, which could give the tenants grounds to sue for damages or to force the work to be done.

Note that parties can reassign risk via contract, so if the lease requires the tenant(s) to maintain the septic, they would need to do this.

As for any possible code violations--you need to check at the local town/city/etc. hall for the local building codes and health codes relating to septic. These codes are made and enforced at a local leval. A phone call or two should answer the question.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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