Jenkintown realtors: Lateral inspections waste big money, hurt homeowners

Recipients of the latest Jenkintown Real Estate News e-mail got a little more than just the latest sale prices this week. The newsletter regularly issued by realtor Andrew Smith urges Jenkintown Borough Council to reconsider an ordinance it passed in 2017 that requires inspection of all sewer laterals before sale.

Entitled “Your Money Down the Drain,” the he makes the case that “The cost associated with the application, inspection and mandated work is excessive and will unquestionably cause great harm to some Jenkintown families when they absolutely need to sell their home but are unable to due to an added cost of more than $10,000.”

Five other area realtors have attached their names to this email: Lynn Mundy Coggin, Cindy Wollman, Alex Bartlett, Dan Maneely, and Sean Ryan.

The group of realtors make a compelling case against the necessity of this ordinance. They cite that that none of the surrounding boroughs and townships require these inspections. Cheltenham conducted its own inspections, and after more than 2,000, it discovered that the primary source of groundwater infiltration came from the interceptors and the mains, not the laterals.

A lateral is the pipe that connects a home to the municipal sewer system. With most of Jenkintown’s homes built before World War II, the ordinance presents a significant burden upon the community. In the newsletter and in a series of videos he created in support of this issue, he cites examples of elderly and lower-income homeowners who endured extreme financial hardships that for some might lead to foreclosure.

According to Andrew, less expensive alternatives exist. Homeowners can purchase sewer line insurance for only $10.49 per month from Homeserve – a company selected by Aqua to provide affordable coverage for sewer lateral problems. Here is a link to information for coverage with Homeserve.

Andrew is requesting that Jenkintown Borough Council reconsider what he and the other realtors consider an unnecessary and onerous burden.

Read the full newsletter here.