Tenant Clogging Main Sewer Line Repeatedly

We have a tenant who keeps reporting a blocked sewage line. When our manager investigates, it appears that in the main sewer line, right after this tenant’s sewer line joins the main, there is cat litter, cat feces, paper, food and trash that is blocking the main line. The tenant lives with 15-20 cats…

This has occurred 3-4 times in the past month or so.

We roto-root the blockage out each time and tell the lady that it’s very obviously coming from her trailer. She denies throwing the trash in the toilet/down the sink and has called the health department on us for not fixing the blockage fast enough. She was already a problem tenant as well.

What would you do in this situation? We are thinking of changing the park rules to forbid throwing these items down into the sewer line and a fine if it is obvious that it is coming from a particular trailer, and non-renewal of lease after the Nth occurrence, etc.

Open to ideas. Thank you in advance.

@asmith4981

If not under a current lease, non-renew her lease.

Clearly she wants to be problematic, and that condition doesn’t usually go away.

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Your words, “she was already a problem tenant as well” WHY would you continue her staying on your property? What are your guidelines? When a problem is caused by less than 5% of tenants do not waste your time giving good tenants some future ammunition. Give here 30 day notice or what legally is the law in your area. The manager needs the park owner to step to the plate!!!

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Valid points.

Only thing I’m leery of regarding non-renewal of lease is tenant retaliation laws, even in the friendly state of Texas:

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/home-real-estate-and-travel/renters-rights

The tenant may claim that it is not her fault (and it is difficult to PROVE that she is throwing the trash down into the sewer, even though it is very likely it is her).

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If you’re in a state where you can do a nonrenewal, obviously do that.

If you’re in a state where you have to do a just cause eviction for rule violation, I would try and get her out on the other violations if possible.

If you try to fine or evict her due to these clogs, and she contests the fine/clogs in court and denies it is her doing it…you’ll probably end up looking like an idiot in front of the judge unfortunately, as you can’t prove it’s her (yet). Unless you can get a plumber to say it’s her doing it (which based on what you’ve said they won’t do) you’re kind of stuck on that one.

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What is your pet policy? I only allow 2 pets per household in my community. If she is violating your pet policy perhaps you can evict based on that.

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Bye,Bye cat lady! Non-renewal.

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Can you put a trap between the home and the main that clogs first? That way you can prove who’s fault it is.

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You may need to bite the bullet. Hire a professional plumber to give you an opinion on where the CLOG originates. Is it the lady with 20 cats or the bachelor next door? With that in hand, you can take her to court.

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Tell her she cannot flush litter, even if it is labeled “FLUSHABLE”!

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Its possible it is a combination of her flushing stuff and your pipes.
If the blockage is occurring in the exact same spot, I would dig up the pipe or pay for a camera inspection to investigate.

I would ask her to remove 18 of the cats and to pay the sewer bill. If she does not comply, terminate her lease and file eviction if necessary.

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@ JoshuaCO As an alternative to eviction, if a plumber has to come out to unclog lines for ANYTHING other than roots, the bill is added to their rent. Now you might have to add something to your R&R’s, or provide some type of 30,60,90 day Notice informing them of this new policy, but if the violator repeatedly gets charged for clogging the lines either they will stop or move out on their own. Also, make it painful, if it costs $250 for a plumber, charge $350-$500 because it took time out of your day to correct the problem. The more painful, the more likely the problem will go away.

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It’s worth getting this chronic issue fixed. I’ve seen parks have sewage backup into many homes at once. When that happens, most home owning tenants seek full value home compensation plus… Then, you’ve got to argue with an insurance company about whether sewage and water are pollution and thus excluded under the insurance policy. The cost to avoid that is likely a good investment.

I was going to ask the same thing. We have evicted tenants for breaking the lease when having more pets than the lease gave them permission for.

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Ok, ok - stand back boys, I’m going to say it because no one else will… its not her fault. :astonished:

you had me at “The tenant lives with 15-20 cats…”

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Shes obviously dumping the cat litter down the toilet. Cat litter is made of clay which doesn’t dissolve with water. The MH now likely has odors that would be hard to eliminate in the future. Sounds like a manager should have addressed this about 12 cats ago. Neighbors can surely smell.

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Great idea! I’m not a plumber but this may be possible!

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Thanks for the responses everyone. We sent out violations notices and are hoping that will stop the bad behavior. If it continues, we’ll non-renew.

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I don’t know if this is in a rural or urban area, but “living with 15-20 cats” is a health problem by most health codes. So that alone is grounds for setting stricter rules and eviction. Also contact the humane society and they might come out on an animal hoarding complaint. This is so wrong on several levels in addition to the clogged pipes. Every cat owner knows not to dump litter or feces down the toilet. Obvious there is more going on here then just poor waste disposal.

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