Who has to pay to rectify something done incorrectly?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Who has to pay to rectify something done incorrectly?

I own a duplex that is next to another duplex on what used to be one property, I think there were always two lots but owned by the same person. They certainly look and act like one property. And, now, we and the city have learned that our sewage lines are connected in a way that is not legal. If I understand correctly and I might not, in 1968, probably while the duplexes were being built and decades before either of us owners was in the picture, a contractor was supposed to connect each property to the city’s sewer main. He did not instead, he connected the sewer line on my property to the one on the other owner’s property, which was connected to another property, which is directly connected to the sewer main. This is called a party line, and is not legal. It might have been in 68. A city inspector at the time signed off on the work as having been done. The city is now requiring that we make the fix within 6 months. This is expensive, about 7k. The other owner and I are wondering if we have any recourse against either the contractor or the city. There is n record of a license for the contractor, which I can’t understand he does have a facebook page. I have not tried to contact him.

Asked on October 23, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no recourse against the city: even if the city inspector signed off on it, he signed off 51 years ago. That is LONG past the statute of limitations (time within which you must initiate a lawsuit) for any professional negligence or misdeed. Similarly, it is long past the statute of limitations for suing the contractor for his professional misdeed or negligence. The professional negligence statute of limitations is 2 years in your state, and the longest statute of limitations is for a civil action is, I believe, 6 years. 5 decades later, there is no recourse against anyone.

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