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New septic tank legislation

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
31 replies 2.4K views
TwinkleponyTwinklepony Forumite
6 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
:mad: Hi guys anyone here selling their house and coming up against problems with the new legislation regarding septic tanks that came into effect 1/1/2020? We are having a nightmare with our buyer with regards to compliance and the solicitor seems to not know much about it which is allowing the buyer to pull all the strings at the moment..... so please if anyone is currently going through this - drop me a shout so I know I’m not the only one in the world who’s dealing with it - from a frustrated vendor !! :(
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  • edited 15 January 2020 at 6:13PM
    G_MG_M Forumite
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    edited 15 January 2020 at 6:13PM
    I had this last year when buying a house (I pulled out in the end but for different reasons).

    The tank clearly did not comply - discharged into a watercourse - and I realised it would need upgrading to a small sewerage treatment plant. The seller knew nothing (not even about the existing tank, let alone the new requirements), and I decided (before I pulled out) that I'd just have to ignore the seller, rely on my own survey and quotes to upgrade and take the hit.

    What exactly is the issue you are facing?


    edit: as seller, you have a duty to inform the buyer in writing where the tank is, how it works, where it discharges, and how often/when it's been emptied. I think there's a requirement to empty it annually which is mad as it destrys the good bacteria......

    https://www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks


    See also the general binding rules
    ** If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link! **
  • Hi there thanks for that - the buyer wants me to confirm that it complies to the new legislation but I’m not sure if it does or doesn’t - I only know I get it emptied once per year and that’s it !

    This sale has been dragging on for a few months now and the buyer had a surveyor look at the property who also couldn’t confirm ! The tank was installed over 60 years ago so who knows !

    I have offered the buyer half the cost of having a treatment plant installed as a gesture if it does require replacing - not that I actually know if it does but they are still not happy with that ! Solicitor doesn’t know so the buyer has a company coming to look at the tank to see what they think ?

    Was just interested if anyone else is having these issues as I know of a few friends that are now selling (we all live rurally) and they are facing the same issues too
  • G_MG_M Forumite
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    I think offering to pay half was a mistake, but still.

    I would simply provide as much info as you can (read the general binding rules for what sellers must say! ) and then advise the buyer to rely on their own investigations. If you're not sure, do not say it does, or does not, comply! Then leave it to the buyer to decide.

    OK, they might pull out.

    Or might decide they've invested enough money and emotion already that pulling out is silly.
    Or they might ask for something off the price (which you've effectively already offered).
    Then leave it up to them.

    If they don't make a decision in a reasonable time-frame, get your agent to start marketing again.
    ** If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link! **
  • diggingdudediggingdude Forumite
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    Hi there thanks for that - the buyer wants me to confirm that it complies to the new legislation but I’m not sure if it does or doesn’t - I only know I get it emptied once per year and that’s it !

    This sale has been dragging on for a few months now and the buyer had a surveyor look at the property who also couldn’t confirm ! The tank was installed over 60 years ago so who knows !

    I have offered the buyer half the cost of having a treatment plant installed as a gesture if it does require replacing - not that I actually know if it does but they are still not happy with that ! Solicitor doesn’t know so the buyer has a company coming to look at the tank to see what they think ?

    Was just interested if anyone else is having these issues as I know of a few friends that are now selling (we all live rurally) and they are facing the same issues too
    I hope it isn't a company which sells new devices
    An answer isn't spam just because you don't like it......
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    Are you sure there have been no indications regarding the location of the discharge and drainage field?


    In both of the recent very dry summers there would have been no prizes for spotting ours; the areas of lush grass were a give-away.
    Patron to The Warning
    "No country has ever improved the health of its citizens by making them poorer." John Lee - Professor of Pathology. UK.
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
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    Treatment plants aren't quite as scary as people think. We've got one being fitted in a few weeks - it was actually cheaper than replacing the septic tank and drainage field, and a lot less invasive. We're having other work done at the same time - but ballpark for the plant itself, installed and including electrics, change from five grand.

    Because of the proximity of a stream, even a replacement tank would have been outside the regs for us.
  • paddyzpaddyz Forumite
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    I’ve beeninvolved in selling a family members house with a septic tank that was on common grazing about 20 metres from the garden so had to buy the land, this was before the new regs came in but I believe at that time they had other regs in place
    Nothing was on any plans from 80s but had to be added for the sale

    In the area I live in now not many solicitors are clued up on the process, one friend didn’t have the septic tank mentioned
    Mortgage start Oct 12 £104,500
    current May 20 -£56,290_£52,067
    term 9 years aiming on being mortgage free by 7
    Weight Up & down 14st 7lb
  • Yes the buyer had a company that sells new septic tanks and treatment plants coming out ! Which to me doesn’t seem fair as of course they are going to try and sell them a new one ! :mad:
  • Adrian C

    Could I ask who you are using to install your treatment plant ? As that seems like a really good price
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
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    Could I ask who you are using to install your treatment plant ? As that seems like a really good price
    Local groundworks guy, very highly regarded. The local "Big Name" charge £200+vat just to come and give an estimate.

    The plant itself is a Marsh Ensign (I went for the Ultra, with an extra filter on the output because of a stream ~20m downhill, with a nature reserve 200m downstream), ~£2.5k inc vat for the 6-person, supplied by the local builder's merchant.

    https://marshindustries.co.uk/products/ensign-sewage-treatment-plants/

    His recommendation of that was based on the personal experience of having a Klargester BioDisc at his own home, and a Marsh at his sister's...

    We're having other work done at the same time - but that part of the estimate is for the plant install. We've had issues with the pipework to the old tank blocking, because of inadequate fall. Getting the rods out clears it quickly, but let's just say that's Not My Favourite Job, and I'm very dubious about the existing tank and leach field - which is just at the start of a steepish slope and heading under a lot of mature trees, so the tipping point making the plant cheaper than a new tank was the labour involved in re-digging the field.

    The paperwork requirements - and my own insistence on not sending rogue floaters through the nature reserve - are just the icing on the cake.
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