Glendale landlord says city’s 24-year mistake caused his home to flood


GLENDALE, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — Janet Melton says she fell in love with her Glendale home when she bought it six years ago. “It’s in a great neighborhood. Great neighbors. It’s quiet. It’s a big house,” Janet told On Your Side.

It is a house that was built 24 years ago. And for 24 long years, this house has seen countless showers, dishwashers and toilet flushes.

During those 24 years, all of that water flowed through the pipes and into Janet’s sewer line which was connected to the Glendale town main. At least he was supposed to have been connected. “We were doing laundry and walked into our guest bathroom and the bathroom got completely flooded. And we were like what’s going on here.

Flood water flowed from Janet’s toilet and various other areas of her home, damaging much of her floor, which she has since removed. So Janet called not one but two licensed plumbing companies who both told her the same bad news. “Long story short, our household sewer line had never been connected to the city’s main drain,” she said. “But that was 24 years ago, so where was all the water going?” asked Gary Harper of On Your Side. “Laundry in the floor,” Janet replied.

According to Janet, the City of Glendale has admitted that it did not approve or hook up its sewer line more than two decades ago. As a result, she said, the city sent in water workers who dug deep into the ground to fix the problem and then poured a new section of the sidewalk, all at the city’s expense. “There were pump trucks. There were exploration trucks. There were municipal overseers. I spoke to one of the guys there at the time and he said it was a top priority.

But while Janet is grateful for the town’s repairs, she says she’s left with a bigger problem. Liberty Mutual Insurance, her landlord’s insurance company, reportedly said it would pay for the $9,400 in damages to the interior of her home. However, when completed, she says Liberty Mutual said it would cancel its policy in September. “I didn’t know the house was never connected. And because the water had nowhere to go, of course it would come back up into the house. But the City had the responsibility of connecting the house. The owner should not be responsible for something that is not his responsibility.

Janet tells On Your Side that she wants Liberty Mutual Insurance to sue the city of Glendale through something called subrogation, which basically means the city would reimburse Liberty Mutual for Janet’s $9,400 claim. If that happened, Janet says she would remain insurable and not be considered a risk. Janet asked, “Why is the insurance company held responsible, or even the landlord, for something that is ultimately the responsibility of the city.

Why? Well, here’s why. The City of Glendale sent On Your Side this email stating that Liberty Mutual’s adjuster wrote, “The City of Glendale was not negligent in actions causing damage to your property. But Janet says that’s just not true.

After On Your Side got involved, Liberty Mutual agreed to reopen their investigation, which Janet says is a relief. But until a final decision is made, she remains worried that other insurance companies may not want to cover her in the future. “You have to be able to insure a house,” she says.

This viewer says there is only one insurance company willing to insure her if she is dropped, but the price is double. She only has one other claim from a few years ago and that was also a flood issue. However, it had nothing to do with the city, Janet said.

I will let you know what happens when a decision is made.


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