May 17, 2024 at 9:28 pm

Neighbors Demanded They Demolish Their Property To Fix A Sewer Issue, So After Years Of Fights They Handed Them A Bill For $75K

by Chris Allen

Source: Reddit/Canva

Some homeowners come with a special kind of entitlement – the sort that makes some people think they can do anything simply by moving in!

No matter the neighbors, city codes, or things like sCiEnCe, this is their world.

We’re just living in it.

Exactly like in this story, where a home of bad neighbors found out shortly after f****** around.

Don’t Sue! We’ll let ya come onto our property to fix your sewer line!

The house I grew up in was built on the side of a hill.

Great views, but the geography posed some challenges for the city utilities, sewage in particular.

Their solution was to put all the houses on the hill in what was called a “shared line.” Essentially, one big pipe ran through all of our back yards, just below the houses’ basements.

Effluent would flow out from the houses, into the shared pipe, and then down the hill to the city sewer line by the bottom-most house.

Enter the new house on the hill.

When we moved in, we were at the highest point that it was possible to build on and still be part of that shared sewer line.

But a few years later, someone bought a lot just over the crest of the hill and linked up with ours- without being part of the planned community that had an HOA that took care of the sewer line (among other things).

And in fact, they did so without the HOA’s approval.

This sounds like a nightmare.

And so for the next two decades, my family would be the subject of near-constant harassment over the state of the sewer.

Their end of the line was lower than ours by just enough that it would stop flowing and clog, often backing up into their basement bathroom and shower.

They’d accuse us of “diverting” our effluent to their line (because I guess we were some kind of plumbing wizards).

Now the reason nobody built a house on that part of the hill during the original development was that the soil was unstable. Something hydrology related.

Sure enough, over the years, that house would occasionally separate from the hill and slide down a couple of inches.

Sounds like they were used to this kind of entitled pushing around of other people.

But our neighbors had connections in the code enforcement agency, so the place never got condemned like it should be. They just had to shore it up and reconnect all the utilities.

The thing is, the further down the house moved, the steeper the negative incline was from their sewer connection to our junction box, making the clogs and backups even worse.

At one point, it got so bad that their sewer barely flowed. Some days, it got completely clogged.

Somehow, this was OUR fault.

They spent the next year calling us every time they tried to flush a toilet and poo came out in their downstairs shower.

The fix seemed almost as bad as the problem.

They called a plumber, who said they had to re-do their part of the shared line.

And to do it, they’d have to bust through our two-story masonry wall so they could get a backhoe onto our property and dig out the line.

Of course, we had issues with this.

We said no, you will NOT come onto our property and tear it up with a big piece of construction equipment.

Hire human laborers or something.

But instead, they hired lawyers who started slinging paper around.

According to them, we were in violation of state law that specifically gave an implied easement granting a homeowner access through another’s property to maintain their own.

Ohhh, lawyering-up are we?

So we hired lawyers of our own, who said that we basically had a choice: we could win the case- but pay a ton of money- or just let it happen.

Either way, we’d be screwed.

But they pointed out one important fact: that 20 year old masonry wall wasn’t in the greatest of shape anyway, so…

A few months later, we presented them with a bill for $75,000 for the rebuilding of the wall, installation of a new set of stairs, replacement of the entire wrought-iron fence that had separated the two properties, re-sodding, replacement of ornamental plants and shrubs, and some minor repairs to OUR sewer (which they had borked up while re-laying their pipes).

Stubborn entitled people kept pushing the issue?

I’m not a general contractor, but my guess is that they could have hired pick-and-shovel labor to dig out that pipe and replace it with a new one for a fraction of that price.

But no. They had to have a giant caterpillar tread machine do it.

They balked.

Having the facts on your side is a wonderful wonderful thing though.

But then we handed them a xerox copy of the letter that their lawyers had sent us with “pursuant to paragraph blah blah of the common code of blah blah blah” citing the NEXT paragraph which stated that the person USING the easement was 100% responsible for any damage that might be caused.

They still balked, but my parents put a lien on their property that stayed there to the day they tried to sell, at which point they HAD to pay up or the purchasers’ creditors wouldn’t underwrite a mortgage.

I think they had to pay interest too, but I’m not 100% sure about that.

Let’s see what folks had to say.

It really can be this easy, but they had to be rageaholics.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

This person completely agreed with their tactics.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

While this person had a different suggestion from that septic tank idea.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

And this commenter confirmed these suspicions.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

How about just being cool and normal?

Is that ever an option for these people?

If you liked that post, check out this post about a woman who tracked down a contractor who tried to vanish without a trace.