Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Alaska

Here in Alaska, I recently had to have the septic tank pumped out by a local company because the toilet, kitchen sink, tub wouldn't drain. My landlord is now telling me that I have to pay the bill because she said it is part of utilities. She is the owner of the house. She had it pumped out last Jan 2013. The company sent her the bill then she requested the company to change it to my name. Am I legally responsible? I've never heard of the septic tank being a tenantís responsibility before because I don't own a home and have been renting most of my life.


Asked on 9/26/13, 6:13 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Terrence Thorgaard Thorgaard Law Firm

Do you have a lease? If so, what, if anything does it say about who pays for pumping the septic tank, or for utilities in general?

AS 34.03.100. sems to apply. It reads as follows

" - Landlord to maintain fit premises. a.selFontSize,.listenWords{background:#3789B9;color:#fff} #playerControl li{float:left;padding:5px} Listen (a) The landlord shall (1) make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition; (2) keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition; (3) maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord; (4) provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal; (5) supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat at all times, insofar as energy conditions permit, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection; (6) if requested by the tenant, provide and maintain locks and furnish keys reasonably adequate to ensure safety to the tenant's person and property; and (7) provide smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices as required under AS 18.70.095 . (b) A landlord of a single family residence located in an undeveloped rural area or located where public sewer or water service has never been connected is not liable for a breach of (a)(3) or (5) of this section if the dwelling unit at the beginning of the rental agreement did not have running water, hot water, sewage, or sanitary facilities from a private system. (c) The landlord and tenant of a one- or two-family residence may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in (a)(4), (5), (6), and (7) of this section. A tenant may agree to perform the duties specified in (a)(3) of this section in rental units where the rent exceeds $2,000 a month. They may also agree in writing that the tenant perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling, but the tenant may not agree to maintain elevators in good and safe working order. Agreements are allowed under this subsection only if the transaction is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord. (d) The landlord and tenant of a dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling only if (1) the agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and is set out in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration; and (2) the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises. (e) The landlord may not treat performance of a separate agreement described in (d) of this section as a condition to an obligation or performance of a rental agreement. Loading... Play Pause Volume: Mute Half Max (a) The landlord shall (1) make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition; (2) keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition; (3) maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord; (4) provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal; (5) supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat at all times, insofar as energy conditions permit, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection; (6) if requested by the tenant, provide and maintain locks and furnish keys reasonably adequate to ensure safety to the tenant's person and property; and (7) provide smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices as required under AS 18.70.095 . (b) A landlord of a single family residence located in an undeveloped rural area or located where public sewer or water service has never been connected is not liable for a breach of (a)(3) or (5) of this section if the dwelling unit at the beginning of the rental agreement did not have running water, hot water, sewage, or sanitary facilities from a private system. (c) The landlord and tenant of a one- or two-family residence may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in (a)(4), (5), (6), and (7) of this section. A tenant may agree to perform the duties specified in (a)(3) of this section in rental units where the rent exceeds $2,000 a month. They may also agree in writing that the tenant perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling, but the tenant may not agree to maintain elevators in good and safe working order. Agreements are allowed under this subsection only if the transaction is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord. (d) The landlord and tenant of a dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling only if (1) the agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord and is set out in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration; and (2) the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises. (e) The landlord may not treat performance of a separate agreement described in (d) of this section as a condition to an obligation or performance of a rental agreement."

(a) (3) & (4) apply, suggesting that the landlord is responsible unless certain conditions apply.

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Answered on 9/26/13, 6:33 pm


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