sewer lateral inspection we did not know, in Oakland

Asked by right61, Pittsburg, CA Mon Jan 28, 2013


we are in process to buy a house in Oakland. The loan already has been sent to Title.
But our agent just told us we need to have sewer lateral inspection before close and will cost $4500. I would like have hire an inspector to check tth sewe line. is something bad come out and if selle does not want to share the cost, can I walk away from the deal. is there any fine will I pay?

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Is97’s answer
Is97, Home Buyer, Oakland, CA
Thu Jan 31, 2013
We recently had to do a sewer lateral inspection, and it turned out that we needed to do the work. The cost was right around $4500, I don't think you need to worry about something worse that that. We used Star Rooter and had a very good experience with the, reliable and quick. Contact info is

P.O. BOX 490
510-481-1741 FAX
1 vote
Eric H. Wong , Agent, Albany, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
Oakland's sewer lateral ordinance has been around for almost a year now. Either your agent or the title company should have warned you that you would need either an EBMUD certificate of compliance, or a sewer line inspection in order to close escrow.

Since it is a point of sale ordinance, this may count as a new material disclosure about the property, giving you the right to renegotiate the price of the home, or the terms of closing or even possibly, canceling the contract. You may want to try to get advice from your agent's broker, since, clearly, your agent has made a serious over sight.

If your sewer line does need to be replaced, there is also the mater of the EBMUD $4500 bond.

This may give you some answers;
2 votes
Jaime Novoa, Home Buyer, Pittsburgh, PA
Wed Jun 25, 2014
0 votes
Isabelle Nid…, , 92603
Fri Sep 20, 2013
Call Central Plumbing in Alameda. Their bid was $450.00
0 votes
Joy Anna Mer…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Tue Jan 29, 2013
Seller sorry about the spelling I speak my text messages and my emails and sometimes the phone uses its own interpretation ;0). Seller not cellar
0 votes
Joy Anna Mer…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Tue Jan 29, 2013
either call your agent and ask her why this wasn't address before if you have released your contingencies you could lose your initial deposit or up to 3 percent of the purchase price I have a few plumbers that I use the inspection should be free or around 150 200 dollars is all should have been negotiated earlier it should have been addressed at the time when you wrote the contract maybe some of this has already happened I never mean to throw any agent under the bus but many out of area agents do not even know about the sewer lateral condition that's why it's important when interviewing your agent that the you ask him about any regional conditions or regulations for selling and buying a home in many cities it is on the shoulders of the cellar to replace or fix the sewer lateral at the point of sale but it usually becomes negotiable between buyer or seller you can give me a call at 5105027 811 I cannot call you and you should try to speak with your agent first but I would be happy to talk to you
0 votes
Fred Shelton, , Oakland, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
"Sewer lateral" has been the buzz word for the last couple of years. Your agent should have known about this. Ask them to use some of their commission to help you resolve this matter.
0 votes
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
Since the loan (documents) were already sent to Title for signing, presumably you've released your contingencies?

Sewer lateral inspection/test doesn't cost $4500 ---- but that amount will have to be held in reserve in case the sewer lateral fails inspection and must be replaced.

Review your contract --- what does it say about who is responsible for compliance with government and local ordinances?

If this was omitted --- horrors! --- then try to get this resolved and quickly. Sadly, if you released all your contingencies, then you walk away, your deposit could be in jeopardy. Both agents -- yours as well as the sellers' --- should have taken extreme care about disclosing and complying with this local ordinance because it's a huge, and I mean HUGE issue.
0 votes
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
If you are buying a home in Oakland, your agent should have known about the sewer lateral ordinance – it should have been part of your disclosure package. The listing agent should have known about it as well and should have asked for agreement on a plan to provide an inspection and a remedy.

Bottom line: you should have been informed at the beginning of the transaction, therefore I can only conclude that your agent has dropped the ball.

I agree completely with Eric and I recommend that you put a hold on the close of escrow until this is sorted out.
0 votes
Bill & Elijah…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
Check your contract. I always use the East Bay addendum because it clarifies this issue and everyone going into the transaction knows that there is this ordinance and who's responsibility it is. Check with your agent but there should be on page two of the CAR RPA paragraph B 2 a check box that specifies who's responsibility it is. I'm sorry to hear that this is coming up so late in the transaction. Check with your agent about the costs and repercussions of walking away from contract. Best of luck to you
0 votes
Sean Schwill…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
The $4500 is just a deposit for EBMUD (water company) to get an extension so that you can close the deal then get compliance afterward at your expense. Once you obtain a compliance certificate (within 6 months) than EBMUD will refund your deposit. The cost of the inspection itself should be a small charge or even free depending on the plumber. Some plumbers may charge you an inspection fee, then apply it toward overall cost of replacement if they do the work. You'll need to get an inspection to find out if the Sewer Lateral is compliant or needs repair or replacement to gain compliance. If the inspection reveals a lateral that is already compliant, than all you have to do is pay for the compliance test & certificate and submit the certificate to escrow before closing. If the lateral needs repair or replacement than the work needs to be done in escrow to gain compliance or by you after close of escrow with the EBMUD deposit for an extension. If you have already removed your inspections contingency you have very little leverage to negotiate with the seller and are at risk of loosing your deposit should you back out. If you still have an inspections contingency in place than you have more leverage to negotiate and could back out without penalty. I would advise having the inspection done either way and pay for the compliance test & paperwork (less than $1000) if the inspection reveals it's should pass. If it needs replacing, I would ask the seller's for closing cost credits and have the work done in escrow to avoid having to submit the $4500 deposit. If your agent is bringing this up after you have removed your inspections contingency, then it is a mistake on their part and I would hit them up for a portion of the cost as well.
0 votes
Phyllis McAr…, Agent, San mateo, CA
Mon Jan 28, 2013
There are several comunities in the Bay Area that require a Sewer Lateral Inspection, that cost seems rather extreame, Contact the the listing agent to make sure there are no problems, I just got an estimate of just a few hundred dollars for this inspection in South San Francisco, ussually the seller is responsible for the cost
0 votes
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