Ensuring reliable structural condition of sewers is an important criterion for sewer rehabilitation decisions. Deterioration models applied to sewer pipes support the rehabilitation planning by means of prioritising pipes according to their current and predicted structural status. There is a benefit in applying such models if sufficient inspection data for calibration, an appropriate deterioration model, and adequate covariates to explain the variability in the conditions are available. In this paper it is discussed up to what level the application of sewer deterioration models can be beneficial under limited data availability. The findings show that the indirect nature of the explanatory covariates which are commonly used in sewer deterioration models makes it difficult to harness any benefit from modelling sewer conditions at a network level, but that the deterioration model application still may be beneficial for prioritising inspection candidates. The prediction power of the current sewer deterioration models is limited by the adequacy of the explanatory variables available, and by the fact that different failure modes are mixed in the aggregated condition class, and not modelled explicitly.