How can our landlord get away with not taking care of septic?
2 attorney answers
I agree with my colleague. This depends to some extent, on the terms of your lease, and the actual cause of the problem. The law allows the parties to a residential house lease to shift responsibilities to maintain the property, and also provides remedies for each party to use to address various failures to meet those responsibilities. Generally, under the local building code, it's likely that the home must comply with regulations governing the safe treatment and or discharge/disposal of waste water; and that would likely make the maintenance/repair of the system (i.e., at least outside the home) the Landlord's responsibility. But as I said, this can be modified by the lease, or the acts of the parties (e.g., tenant drives over the tank cover and cracks its, puts improper waste down the toilet, etc). Easiest/cheapest solution might simply be to split the cost of emptying the tank. There's just no way to tell here on line. Hope this helps. gsg
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Read your lease. It most likely covers this situation in some form. If it doesn't, then the landlord's duty is to ensure the dwelling complies with all applicable building and health codes, and if none apply, must maintain "the plumbing in reasonable working condition."
Whether that language from Section 83.51, Florida Statutes, means the landlord has to pump the septic or whether that is the tenant's responsibility under Section 83.52, Florida Statutes, is open to reasonable debate. The tenant's responsibility is to "[k]eep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant clean and sanitary and in repair."
If this issue isn't covered by your lease then it is up to interpretation. You will have to work it out with your landlord, pump it yourself, or send a 7-day notice and terminate your lease and move out.
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