MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While she finishes her Halloween decorating, Itzel Perez Dominguez tries not to focus on the horror story happening in front of her house.
“This is a significant problem for me,” the Minneapolis resident said.
That problem pooled on her street a couple of weeks ago, as pointed out by a city inspector.
“I get on the phone and the inspector says there is a leak. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, a leak? What do you mean where is the leak?’” she said.
It was a leak in the water line that leads to her south Minneapolis home.
“This is basically saying we found the water leak and you’re responsible for it,” she said.
Along with a hefty $5,800 bill to fix it, she added.
“Where do people who encounter these issues come up with this money? Like how does that even work?” she said.
A seemingly little known ordinance puts homeowner’s on the hook.
Part of that ordinance reads: “each piece of the water service line shall be maintained and kept in good operating condition by the property owner.”
Perez Dominguez also learned her water line was last serviced decades ago, meaning problems aren’t uncommon for aging infrastructure.
“He told me at that moment there were 40 leaks around the city, so 40 people were struggling the same way I am right now,” she said.
Homeowners can add repair costs to their property tax bill, with a 5 percent fixed interest rate attached.
“That’s what I’m doing, because I have no way to give them $6,000 to fix this,” she said.
Phone calls to attorneys and the city council pleading for a change led to dead ends.
“It’s just frustrating,” Perez Dominguez said. “Our politicians and people find resources for other things, like a new stadium.”
Minneapolis also reminds homeowners they have to cover the cost of sewer line repairs, too.
Some cities in the metro have allowed companies to sell insurance policies to offer some kind of protection.
Insurance agents told WCCO some companies offer this type of coverage in a homeowner’s policy, so it’s best to check with your agent.