Sewer Line Inspections
Protecting Your Client’s Home & Property
Buying a home is a large financial investment.
When your client has a family, a career and a life, the out-of-sight and out-of-mind saying applies. Not having an inspection of the sewer line can ignore problems no one thought about until a nasty mess and an urgent situation presents itself inside your client’s home.
Doesn’t the City have that covered? Unfortunately, no. It’s the homeowner’s responsibility from the connection to the dwelling, all the way underground and under the street to the connection point at the main sewer line. (We are referring to the City of Los Angeles; please check with your city.)
Homebuyers don’t talk about sewer lines, like they discuss plumbing or roofs. Yet, hidden issues can cost thousands to repair (and tens of thousands to replace an entire sewer system). Older, hillside homes can bring higher costs in certain cases. Unknown issues from leaks in the joints between piping, cracks or breaks in the line, along with root intrusions, all make for potentially significant situations over time, if left unchecked.
The property’s sewer line may not be connected properly, or at all, to the main sewer line. That situation has its own potential issues underground. Think of the street collapses you’ve seen on the news or in-person over the years living in Southern California. Again, the homeowner is the responsible party. Not the City. These types of issues are very costly to the homeowner.
Sewer line inspections
Everyone knows it’s commonplace to have a general inspection when buying a home. A sewer line inspection is not part of the general physical inspection. There are several specialty inspections a buyer and seller need to know about before transferring ownership that assist in making informed decisions and needed repairs.
For the sewer line, a video camera inspection is required so the buyer, seller, or homeowner can receive a narrated video and written report with photos detailing any problems found, an assessment of the remaining lifespan and location of its connection to the city sewer, if it is.
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services
“In almost all cases, the private property owner is assumed to own to the center of the street. The public street is an easement. The property owner has a legal right to construct and maintain a house connection sewer between his private property and the public street sewer, subject to permit provisions of the Los Angeles Municipal Code.” – bss.lacity.org
City of L.A. Sanitation
“Tree roots get into sewers when a sewer pipe develops a crack or other damage and nutrients and moisture leak into the soil, attracting the roots. About 50% of all sewer backups and overflows in the City are caused by tree roots. Not only do sewer lines on private property get clogged, but the roots can grow into the City’s sewers causing spills from those pipes as well.” Go to LA City Sanitation and click on: Sewer –> Sewer Hazards –> Tree Roots at lacitysan.org/san
Get peace of mind
A sewer line issue that backs up into the home or wreaks havoc in the street, is emotionally taxing. Help your clients know what could be lurking underground before it’s too late to avoid major issues and costs.