Farmington Hills family told to tear down $900K home to prevent sewage backup

Infrastructure issue could cause sewage to back up in neighboring basements

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – A Farmington Hills family is battling the water resources commissioner after being told that it has to tear down its $900,000 home.

The Dhillon family bought the nearly $1 million house out of foreclosure thinking they got a real bargain. But now, the house has turned out to be the money pit of all money pits.

Six years ago, the Dhillons got a letter that told them they had to tear down their home and pick up the tab for the entire demolition. The Dhillons have been waging that battle with the county ever since.

The house sits atop a sewerage easement installed in the 1970s that went in before a house ever sat there.

When the house was built in the early 2000s, the legal filings said the builder, who was also the homeowner at the time, removed a manhole to the sewer, sealed it off and put the house on top of it.

The county has since sent video robots inside the sewer line and discovered leaks.

"According to the drain code, if a drain is obstructed, the drain commissioner shall cause the obstruction to be removed," the water resources commissioner said. "This is an obligation, not an option."

That means the Dhillons have to level their home to prevent sewage from backing up in neighboring basements.

The Dhillons said they don't have enough money to demolish their own home and find somewhere else to live. In their court filings, they said, "The Dhillons are innocent homeowners. They were not involved in any way with design, construction or inspection of the home, or with the home's connection to the sewer line. They are not to blame for the situation."

The Dhillons want to go to mediation, but the county, which has tried to figure out ways around tearing down the house, said it's against mediation and a teardown is the only answer.

The case will return to court in just over a week.

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