Get Gephardt: Clogged shared sewer pipe leaves lowest owner stuck with mess, bill
(KUTV) — If somebody else was responsible for damage to you home, who should have to pay for it? A Roy woman was stuck with the bill after she says her condo complex left her home flooded with raw sewage.
When the sewer line at the Rosewood Manor became clogged, it became a disgusting problem for Lorie Kerr, whose apartment sits at the lowest elevation.
Hundreds of gallons of her neighbors’ raw sewage flooded her place. Months later, the damage remains. She says her homeowner’s association is refusing to pay for the mess or even let her file a claim with its insurance company.
Richard W. Jones, a lawyer for the Rosewood Manor Condominium Association, writes in a letter to Get Gephardt that Kerr’s accusation that she’s not being allowed to file a claim is "unfounded." Jones writes that Rosewood isn't refusing to cover the damage, rather, he says that "insurance only comes into play after the ... deductible is met." That deductible for the HOA is $25,000.
Jones says Kerr should file a claim with her personal homeowner’s insurance.
Kerr did ultimately file a claim with her personal insurance. It was first denied, but after Get Gephardt’s calls to her insurance company, it agreed to extend her coverage.
Kerr is not satisfied. She says it’s ridiculous that her personal insurance now reflects a claim that could cause her personal premiums to increase over a clogged sewer line that is shared by the entire community.
"It's not fair and I am frustrated," she said. "I feel like they need to be held accountable for their negligence.”
It’s negligence, Kerr says, because the Rosewood Manor Condominium Association was aware this sewer line was problematic. This isn't the first time it became clogged and caused her condo to flood.
Back in 2015, the same thing occurred. That time, Kerr was able to file a claim with the HOA’s insurance and, between it and her personal policy, was able to have the damaged covered.
Meeting minutes following that initial flood show that the HOA promised to better maintain the line and to frequently have it snaked to clear any debris.
Kerr says that maintenance did not occur.
Jones told Get Gephardt that maintenance wouldn't have prevented the most recent flood. The clog was caused by someone flushing an "improper object" down the drain, he wrote.
Without addressing why maintenance had not taken place between the 2015 clog and the 2018 clog, Jones stated that the HOA “intends to flush the line every nine months,” and “also distribute a flyer informing residents what they should not be flushing down toilets or putting down sinks.”