Dispute and Resolution Solicitors in UK  | HB 121 Solicitors

Septic Tank

A septic tank is an receptacle installed in the ground where a property is not connected to the mains sewerage system. It is for the receipt of wastewater including human solids - we won’t go into that any more here. It is to be distinguished from a cess pit which is rather more crude and can just be a hole in the ground! A septic tank usually lasts about 50 years. They are rarely found in towns but are often found in rural areas where main sewers are often simply not available.

As a buyer you should be interested in knowing how old a tank is, where it (and its outfalls) is, is it shared with any other properties, when was it last emptied, by whom and at what cost, is there a warranty, have any problems been experienced. The standard Property Information Forms should give basic information to UK Property Solicitors generally but as property solicitors in Kidderminster and property solicitors in Stourport on Severn and therefore being in a rural area we are well placed to ask further questions and apply the information to your property more specifically whereas a city or large town solicitor would come across such systems much less often.

Importantly the way a septic tank outfalls drain can land an inexperienced person with big problems. A septic tank used to drain either into the ground (via some sort of filtration system of pipes) or into a watercourse. The second of those is now no longer allowed and if a property is being purchased with a septic tank that drains into a watercourse that needs remediation or replacing. If it drains into a watercourse there should be plans to do the works required within a reasonable timescale (usually regarded as 12 months). This obviously needs addressing at an early stage is it involves additional, possibly unexpected, costs for the Seller (who may want to try and negotiate to pass on some of the cost to the Buyer on the basis that the longer term benefit will be for the Buyer).

There are what is known as “General Binding Rules”(different in England to Wales) which set out standards that are expected. Sometimes a simple question asking whether the tank complies is sought to be avoided. You should try and insist on an answer. Bear in mind running a faulty system is against the law might help your argument. An inspection by a professional may be required – this may reveal things the Seller doesn’t want to hear so the threat of this in itself may do the trick but if you have any doubts an inspection may be a good idea anyway.

As above, sufficient information has to be supplied by the Seller to the Buyer to enable them to make their buying decision “with their eyes wide open.” Additional information is often needed too.

You should also check that your proposed buildings insurance policy covers the system – if you are having a mortgage you lenders may insist on this. So to assist Sellers more you again need experienced conveyancing solicitors in Kidderminster and Conveyancing solicitors in Stourport to help you through the selling maze.

For advice when you are purchasing, or indeed selling, go to a solicitors firm that understands this area. Don’t forget experienced conveyancing solicitors such as HB 121 Solicitors Kidderminster and Stourport will help you with septic tank and all other aspects of your transaction.

Look for us on www.hb121solicitors.co.uk/ or call us on 01562 702655 or 01299 848944.


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