Flooding in the home

Hey everyone how is it going.
So I got a question in regards to plumbing. So I was inspecting a split level home today and during the inspection I was upstairs and I had the kitchen sink , dishwasher, the half bath sink, the full bath sink and bathtub all running during the inspection. I was about to go down stairs and start the inspection on the basement bathroom. Then the realtor started yelling the basement is flooding. So I turned off all the water upstairs and went to go look at the damage. I know in our line of work there is a fine line of liability. I proceeded to clean up all the water with a shop vac and continued the inspection. The relator contacted the seller and they went to the home. By that time all the water was sucked up and was drying out. The seller started to explain the sewer lateral from the home to the city main was replaced 2 years ago. So they were confused as to why it would happen. I explained to them I would return tomorrow with a sewer camera to inspect the sewer line from the home to the city main free of charge and I would work with them to help make it right. So not sure if I stuck my foot in my mouth but I am coming up on 1 year with my business and I am still fresh to all of this and this is the first time this has ever happen. So long story short where does the liability fall. On the inspector? Not sure if I am doing the right thing as far as going back but I have never been in this situation. Some feed back would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

Yes, it is on you. I’m sure you know not to leave the room when water is running, now, though, RIGHT? Tough lesson, Bobby. And, I bet you never forget it, too.

I did my water flow testing in one of the bathrooms with all fixtures running.

I hope you have your General Liability Insurance paid up.

Yes you are correct this is a tuff lesson to learn and yes I just renewed my business insurance. Lucky me.
Thank you for the reply it really means a lot. I will have to come up with another method.

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Test each room with water for flow and drainage while in the room.

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Absolutely from this point forward. Now I just need to navigate through this mess.

I don’t know the amount of damage but your insurance will want to know so they can cover someone else to repair it costing you your deductible. And, they will want to know what you will do so it doesn’t happen again.

Do not attempt to do the repair yourself or the monkey will remain on your back forever.

If the damage is minimal, and they sign a release absolving you of any further claims on the house, you may get away with paying less than your deductible. but I would still let your insurance know what is going on.

Here is a General Release form (Have the sign it before giving the any $.): https://www.nachi.org/release.htm

Keep the check and release with the inspection.

Awesome thank you so much this was a great help I feel a little better now. I will print the release form out and go that route.

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I have to possibly respectfully disagree with Larry’s take on the situation.

If a sink, or tub overflowed, and it was due to your negligence, then yes, you would be liable.

On the other hand, if it was due to some plumbing deficiency, then you have protected your clients interests by finding a major defect. The Sellers had recently replaced the line, so they obviously had plumbing problems. You should NOT be paying for a plumbing contractors mistake(s). Consider asking the Seller to review the scope of work and any potential warranties.


That is how I read the OP’s post.

And you’ve helped him more, John Paul…good advice.

IF there is a drainage problem in the sewer lines MAYBE you can skate … BUT like others have said - other than the dishwasher, YOU do NOT leave water running in 2-3-4 rooms at one time. No Reason to.

Check the 1/2 bath, then shut it off AND move to the next room. Check the hall bath, then shut it off AND move to the next room, etc, etc. Could be a very EXPENSIVE problem for YOU if not handled properly.

Hi Larry,
I read it as there was a flood in the basement, not in the bathrooms/kitchen, but there is imo some ambiguity. Possibly from a bad sewer line, but only the poster can tell.

Maybe Bobby can tell us how the sewer camera inspection turned out. :grinning:

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Hey fellas sorry for the long overdue response. So the sale went through. While conducting the sewer scope the next day. I found a complete blockage of the sewer line caused by tree roots. Only 15 feet of the original sewer line was replaced and apparently the home owner paid for a complete sewer line replacement. Shame Shame on the contractor. With that being said a defect was found and also a valuable lesson was learned. The buyer and seller did not want me back out to conduct a re-inspection of the plumbing. Thank you for all the great feed back.

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Good! You do not want anymore liability then you already had. Glad it worked out! Sewer scope was a good idea.