One of the benefits of renting a property is that you aren’t responsible for much of the upkeep. If the toilet breaks, your landlord is generally liable for replacing it in a timely manner. If the roof is leaking, this person is typically required to repair it on your behalf. However, it may be less clear as to who is responsible for making sure that the septic tank remains in good condition throughout the term of your lease.
What Does the Lease Say?
Generally speaking, property owners have an obligation to keep their homes in good condition, and this is typically true even if they rent it to another person. However, a landlord may include language in a lease agreement stipulating that the tenant is responsible for certain maintenance tasks.
For instance, you may be asked to mow the lawn, to shovel the driveway, or to have the home professionally cleaned at least once a year. It’s possible that your landlord may ask you to at least check the septic tank on a periodic basis for signs that it may be clogged or otherwise not working as it should.
You may also be asked to pour materials into your toilet that are designed to help break down waste in a septic tank. If you fail to abide by these basic rules, you may be charged a fee if your failure results in the need to clean or to repair the septic tank. This is why reviewing the details of your lease is very important.
Why Is the Septic Tank Clogging?
It’s unlikely that you’ll be held liable if a rental’s septic tank is clogged or overflowing because the landlord failed to take steps to keep it in good working order. As with anything else associated with a home, the tank must be maintained, repaired, or replaced at regular intervals.
However, if you did something that caused the tank to clog, overflow, or otherwise operate below its peak efficiency, you may be liable for the cost to remedy your mistake. For example, if you planted a tree by the inlet line, it’s possible that its roots will eventually make their way into the tank itself.
If you do anything to cause physical damage to the tank or its components, you may be required to pay the cost of repairing or replacing it. For instance, putting something inside of the tank that results in cracks, dents, or other imperfections would generally be considered tenant negligence.
How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Flushed?
Ideally, a septic tank will be flushed at least once every three years, assuming that you live in a standard-size home. It also assumes that you have one to four people living in the house. If you have more than four people in residence, it may be a good idea to ask the landlord to have the septic tank flushed every two years. There is a chance that a maintenance schedule will be included in your lease. If there isn’t, you may be able to ask that one be added to the agreement.
What Are Some Signs That a Septic Tank Is Failing?
If you notice a rotten egg smell wafting through your home, it could be a sign that there is an issue with the septic tank. However, it’s worth noting that you could also have an issue with the gas line, so it’s important to notify your landlord about the problem as quickly as possible. Alternatively, you could call the local gas company to rule out such a problem.
Another common sign of a septic tank issue is the presence of water or sewage that has backed up through a toilet or a sink. This backup likely indicates the presence of a blockage in the tank itself that is forcing waste back into the home. In some cases, you’ll notice that a kitchen or bathroom sink is draining slower than it should. If it is difficult to flush the toilet, you may have a septic system issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Finally, you may notice that certain portions of the yard are greener or thicker than others. This is typically because moisture has pooled in these areas when it can’t get into or through the septic tank. It’s also possible that you’ll just see large puddles of water or sewage in the yard.
Should You Try to Clean the Septic System Yourself?
If you have owned a home in the past, you may have experience cleaning or fixing septic systems. The same may be true if you worked in the septic cleaning or maintenance field. However, it’s generally not in your best interest to attempt to resolve any issues that may arise on someone else’s property.
The best reason to avoid doing the work on your own is that you may void any warranty that came with the system. This could result in your landlord paying hefty fees for service that could have been avoided if you had simply let that person take care of the problem on your behalf.
It’s also important to consider that you may not have prior experience working on the type of septic system installed on your landlord’s property. Therefore, you may not be saving any time doing the work yourself as opposed to contacting the property owner. Furthermore, you may be at a higher risk of making an error that could seriously damage the septic tank or related components.
What Happens If Your Landlord Refuses to Fix the Problem?
Ideally, your landlord will call the professionals at Express Septic & Drain Cleaning in Nampa at the first indication of trouble. We can perform a variety of tests to determine if there is a clog, physical damage, or other issues that need to be resolved. If an problem is spotted, we can flush the septic tank or take other steps to take care of the tank in a timely and affordable manner.
Of course, there is a chance that your landlord will refuse to fix the problem in a suitable manner or at all. In such a scenario, it may be possible to withhold rent until appropriate action is taken. If you have a rental insurance policy, it may help cover any losses incurred related to your landlord’s negligence.
It’s worth noting that you can call a professional for help on your own if your landlord isn’t keen on maintaining his or her property. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to pay for service directly and to deduct the amount that you paid from your next rental check.
If you are in need of septic tank or septic system service, don’t hesitate to call the folks at Express Septic & Drain Cleaning today! We proudly serve Nampa and the surrounding area!