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Flooded Homeowners Ask: Who Will Pay?

Posted August 23, 2007
Updated August 24, 2007

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— Wednesday night’s storms and a backed-up storm drain sent up to two feet of water into a handful of Durham houses.

That left homeowners questioning who would pay for the mess. Sarah and Patrick Horn said they woke up Thursday morning to find water rushing through their house.

“I don’t know what to do. There’s so much to do, and I don’t know where to start,” Sarah said.

“It just felt like the house was ready to go,” Patrick said. “It was scary.”

A heavy morning rain Thursday made matters worse after a storm drain pipe collapsed. An entire cul-de-sac at the Hope Valley Farms subdivision was under 1 to 2 feet of water. The problem pipe sat right behind Laurie Corona's backyard.

She said it started out as a small hole, and then she started noticing problems months ago.

“What comes in my yard at night is rats. It’s like a relay race," she said.

Corona and many neighbors said they blame the city. But city officials pointed the finger at a nearby daycare center.

“We investigated and determined it was not part of the city’s sewer system,” said Assistant City Manager Ted Voorhees.

The city said it's the responsibility of George Laycock, the daycare owner, to repair any problems with the pipe. But, in letters to the city and in talking with WRAL, Laycock said the pipe isn't his problem.

The city is now performing repairs, and it plans to bill Laycock. That was little solace for folks who said they don't know who is going to pay for the mess.

“It sure would’ve been nice if someone had cared before it was a crisis,” Patrick said.

The city estimated the cost to fix the pipe will be about $50,000. Laycock said he will not pay it.

41 Comments

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  • HangOn Aug 24, 2007

    that's just tough shiiit.

  • richard2 Aug 24, 2007

    The homeowner always pays for everything thru taxes or insurance.

  • diggit733 Aug 24, 2007

    Well, we HAD State farm and it was awful. My grandmother was run over by some guy who ran a red light and he had State Farm.... It has been almost 4 years and they are still not paying any of her medical bills. Have NOTHING nice to say about State farm.
    As for the homes...if the homeowner noticed a problem BEFORE it flooded why not contact someone to find out who was responsible..

  • echance Aug 24, 2007

    Do you know whats yellow and black and sleeps 6?.............A state pick-up truck.........as for "who's pays" try home owers ins if not well it's up to YOU SORRY

  • Juliett Aug 24, 2007

    wralfan, I just switched to Allstate about 2 months ago because they gave me the lowest quote. I don't remember signing that form either. You can bet I'll be switching too if my rates go up. Thanks for the info.

  • hp277 Aug 24, 2007

    According to the story in the Herald-Sun

    http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-875373.cfm

    -This was a storm drain, not a sewer drain.

    -The plat for the daycare from 1998 specified that the property owner was responsible for maintaining the storm drain and easement, not the city.

    -The city sent a violation notice to the property owner in May after a sinkhole opened beside the drain pipe, indicating it had failed.

    -The property owner refused to fix it even after his engineer checked it because it was too expensive.

    The homeowners - or their insurance companies - should be able to recover their costs from the daycare property owner.

  • kruck88 Aug 24, 2007

    I agree with g-man!! That is crazy! Somebody is getting raped over that. Maybe if all the city workers would work and not have 5 out there 3 of which are standing around watching this project wouldn't be so expensive. As for who is at fault, none of us have seen it or knows the history of it so we can say who should have to pay.

  • wralfan Aug 24, 2007

    Everyone needs to be aware of Allstate's car insurance premiums, they generally charge higher rates than NC commission allows.

    They get by it by making you sign a Consent to Rate form... aka "consent to rape", because that's what Allstate does.

    Be aware what your insurance agent is making you sign. Mine didn't and I had no idea what it was until after the fact. After 6 mos, when they raised my rates for no reason, I switched to Erie Insurance. Great rates for stronger policies.

  • G-man Aug 24, 2007

    $50,000 to replace some pipe? Even a few hundred feet of pipe.
    Backhoe rental, pipe, a days worth of labor? I'm in the wrong business.

  • TheWB Aug 24, 2007

    I just can't believe the word "flooded" in the title, it has been a while since that word was in use around here.

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