Is it the Tenant or Landlord that is Responsible for Septic Evacuation?

Who bears the cost of evacuating a filled septic tank in a tenanted apartment? Is it the tenant or landlord? The question has caused issues between landlords and tenants across Nigeria. While some believe matters that concern the general property like exterior painting and digging of borehole should be the exclusive responsibility of the landlord while what happens in an individuals apartment like utility (NEPA) bill should be the tenants responsibility. Let us try to examine this topic

In every 3 to 5 years septic tanks needs to be evacuated. The question now is whose responsibility is it to empty the septic tank? Is it the landlord or the tenant? Read on to learn about the septic system responsibilities of landlords and tenants.

While some countries has it spelt out Nigeria does not have any law that handles who evacuates the septic when it is filled up. Generally speaking, landlords or property owners have an obligation to keep their homes in good condition, whether they are using it themselves or they put it out for rent. However a landlord may include it in the agreement on whose responsibility the septic evacuation falls on. It is also important to ask such a question when moving into a new place. Your agreement should include the responsibility of the landlord and the responsibility of the tenant all spelt out to avoid any controversy.


Even if the agreement has it that the landlord takes care of evacuating the septic tank, the tenant still has the responsibility of maintaining the apartment in other ways. For instance, you may be asked to mow the lawn, to shovel the driveway, or to have the home professionally cleaned at least once a year. It’s possible that your landlord may ask you to at least check the septic tank on a periodic basis for signs that it may be clogged or otherwise not working as it should.



There are several factors that you must consider when deciding how frequently you need to pump your septic.

These include:

  • Size of the septic tank
  • Amount of sludge in the tank (consider clearing your septic if it’s more than a 1/3 of the tank)
  • Volume of wastewater from your home (more water released means faster filling for the septic)

Besides that, most septic services recommend that you need to pump your tank at least once every 3 – 5 years.

What Do you do if Your Landlord fails to evacuate it?

If the agreement stated ab initio that it is the responsibility of the landlord and he is not responding, there are things you can still do.

Of course, there is a chance that your landlord will refuse to fix the problem in a suitable manner or at all. In such a scenario, it may be possible to withhold rent until appropriate action is taken.

It’s worth noting that you can call a professional for help on your own if your landlord isn’t keen on maintaining his or her property. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to pay for service directly and to deduct the amount that you paid from your next rental check.

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