Your LSV Board of Directors has spent a good deal of time over the past few months on the subject of homeowners’ sewer lines and how those connect a particular unit’s plumbing to the city’s sewer system. We wanted to understand many things, including:
- When will the city come out and clear blockages?
- How to do we prevent blockages and advise homeowners of the same?
- What is the layout of the system in terms of how it connects with the city’s lines?
- Who is responsible for a sewer line that is in need of maintenance or repairs?
After studying the CCR’s, consulting past Board members, checking with the city Sanitation Department, studying the plats of the units, and meeting with Ken Giles of Plumbing Solutions, Inc., (who is intimately familiar with the plumbing system layout and the specific features of the LSV plumbing system) the board has a more thorough understanding of how everything relates. We have engaged in many discussions including one with the individuals who attended the Board meeting on January 13, 2016 (whose pre-distributed agenda disclosed that these items would be discussed at that meeting).
Many considerations bear on the issue of where the responsibility lies for the maintenance and repair of a particular homeowner’s sewer line. Ultimately, however, the appropriate resolution lies within the CCR’s.
- The Second Amended and Restated Declaration of Covenants, etc. (hereinafter “Declaration”): Article V (2nd para.) of the Declaration specifically states that costs associated with maintenance, repair and replacement of the “Common Property and Limited Common Property” shall be a “Common Expense” (that is, shared by all homeowners through assessments).
- According to the Definitions in Article I, (Section 7) “Common Property” is that intended for use and enjoyment for all Owners, etc. “Limited Common
Property” (Article I, Section 14) refers to common property and facilities intended for “exclusive limited usage in common by one or more Owners,” etc.
- As we know from Ken Giles, who spoke at the January 13th Board meeting, almost all of the units have sewer lines that directly hook up from the homeowner’s unit to the main city sewer line. That is, with very few exceptions, individual units’ sewer lines do not come together (are not shared) before running to the city line.
- Therefore, according to the Board’s reading of the Declaration, with very few exceptions, each unit’s sewer line is intended for the exclusive use of that unit and therefore is not Limited Common Property or Common Property.
In light of the CCR language, the Board concludes that the vast majority of units’ sewer lines do not qualify as Common or Limited Common property. As a result, the cost of nearly all homeowner’s sewer lines’ maintenance or repair would not be the common responsibility of Lakeshore Village (that is, of all homeowners). As for those few homeowners who have a line which is partially shared with a neighbor before it reaches the city’s line, that portion of the line that is shared would constitute “limited common property,” and any maintenance/repair of that shared portion would be the responsibility of LSV. Proof of shared status can be
demonstrated if two or more close neighbors are having the same blockage issue at the same time. (LSV reserves the right verify the shared status by a licensed plumber). Only after proof of a blockage in the shared part of the line would that part or section be the responsibility of LSV.
The remedies and preventive measures outlined by Ken Giles at the January 13th meeting (which are also mentioned in the CCR’s) will help homeowners enormously. Particularly, the installation of a clean-out, if one’s unit does not already have one, may make it possible for the city to come in and clear whatever blockage occurs. In that case a plumber may not be needed. Ken Giles or any plumber can install a clean-out if a unit does not already have one. A root cleaner used periodically may also provide some relief. (The information provided by Ken Giles about these preventive measures will be included in the minutes from the January 13th meeting).
Keep in mind, any expense to Lakeshore Village is paid out of all our dues. So any bill or charge to the village comes out of all our pockets. We have the responsibility to act in the best interest of all of our villagers by following the CCR’s. The board is not changing any policies, just enforcing the ones that already exist. There are lots of projects in the Village that are needed and past due. These improvements and maintenance will benefit all of us.
Should you have questions about this, please contact any member of the Board. Thank you.