I am in a rent to own contract, and am wondering if I’m responsible for replacing a bad sewer line that came up in a inspection?

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I am in a rent to own contract, and am wondering if I’m responsible for replacing a bad sewer line that came up in a inspection?

In recent inspections to get a loan approved I found that the sewer line will need to be replaced due to tree roots growing into the clay pipes. My contract states under repairs: “Repairs costing $500 or less are the responsibility of the tenant; repairs costing more than $500 will be split between the tenant and the owner 50/50” when i signed this contract, I was under the impression this was for appliances, etc – can I be held responsible legally for 50% of getting the sewer lines replaced?

Asked on February 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The problem is, what you were "under the impression of" does not control a contract if the contract is clear on its face. Since the terms you quote are very clear and unambiguous, it would seem that you would be responsible for 50% of the sewer line cost. If there are terms elsewhere in the contract which would clarify that you are only responsible vis-a-vis appliances, that would be one thing; or possibly, if there is correspondence, emails, etc. that you could point to showing that the intention of both parties was clearly to hold you responsible only for appliances, but the word "appliance" simply failed to make it into the contract, you might have grounds to not pay. Other than that, though, from what you write, you would seem to be responsible for this cost.


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