Property Owners Beware Of This Looming Threat

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: Our sewer is backed up.  Do we have to repair it or is it the municipality’s responsibility? Ed, Elizabeth, NJ

A: Great question, Ed. It depends on where the blockage or break in a pipe is–if it’s in your home, it’s your responsibility. As the pipes move away from your home, it’s not as clear whose responsibility it is to make repairs.

To find out for sure, call your local government or utility company. They will have a map containing a detailed breakdown of sewage lines in and around every home.

If it’s a main sewer pipe causing a problem, contact the public water utility company in your area. It is their responsibility to repair or replace the sewer line if necessary. If the problem originates inside your home or in the private lines leading away from your home, you have to hire a contractor to come and make the appropriate repairs. Obviously, there is a gray area–to protect yourself, I strongly recommend you pay for sewer line insurance which isn’t very expensive but does provide some degree of protection if the water sewer line needs work that is not covered by the local utility

Thanks for your question, Ed. For more real estate information and tips visit my blog at