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Did I purchase a house with an illegal septic tank?

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  • MoneySavingMiss95
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    Latest update: Building Control office confirmed no planning permission sought and no building control sign off requested for the replacement and installation of this tank. Described the set up to them and definitely non compliant.

    Environmental Health also (shockingly) confirmed that they don’t inspect set ups when people register them, so the Water Discharge Exemption certificate for the property was obtained by deceit in providing untrue answers to their questions. 

    Solicitor contacted for their view on the situation but the whole system needs replacing in order to become compliant and work properly for us (have been quoted 12.5 + VAT)… happy 3 month home-owniversary!
  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,484 Forumite
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    I am very sorry you've had this news, it is so disappointing people can behave in this way.
    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • canaldumidi
    canaldumidi Posts: 3,511 Forumite
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    edited 29 April 2022 at 5:14AM
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    If you have evidence of deceipt during the purchasing process (and I mean written evidence via solicitors), combined with written report from new installer of what was actually there, plus ideally written report from Building Conttrol/ Env Agency, then you could well sue the vendors (if you know where they are). For £15K it's worth it.
    £12.5K could well be a 'correct' quote. The treatment plant itself would be a minority of this (£1-3K?) but installation, including emptying/removing the existing septic tank, re-digging drains etc, would soon add up.
    However, if the drains are sound, and will continue to empty (now nice clean water) into the ditch, new drainage may not be needed- just a tank swop.
    How many quotes?
  • Spreadsheetman
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    Oh dear. Sounds like your solicitor didn't do their job properly either, a replacement septic/treatment plant always requires building control to be notified and a sign-off obtained once complete.


  • boots_babe
    boots_babe Posts: 3,236 Forumite
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    Oh goodness so sorry to hear this. We had a steep learning curve about the new General Binding Rules and septic tanks when we bought our house in December 2020.

    Like you, the existing septic tank was non compliant as it drained into a ditch. Thankfully the owners agreed to pay to replace with a small sewage treatment plant. 

    We got 3 quotes and it cost £11.5k, it was a pretty straightforward job with no complications, so your quote sounds in the right ballpark.

    I'd definitely take this up via your solicitor as they have lied in the property information form. I wish you the best of luck in getting some recompense from your vendor. 
  • MoneySavingMiss95
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    Thank you all, lengthy email finally send to solicitor yesterday with all reports and findings.. fingers crossed!
  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,484 Forumite
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    Good luck, I do hope something positive comes from it for you. 

    My vendor, who didn't give me the floor surveys so I'd have known there were hugely expensive and disruptive problems here,  has just sent me a What's App text, asking if her Ticketmaster tickets have arrived here in error.  I have responded in a civil manner, but have ugly thoughts :) 
    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • Woolsery
    Woolsery Posts: 1,535 Forumite
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    My vendor, who didn't give me the floor surveys so I'd have known there were hugely expensive and disruptive problems here,  has just sent me a What's App text, asking if her Ticketmaster tickets have arrived here in error.
    Are they hoping to see the Death Watch Beatles or the Woody Blues?
    Sorry, I can't help myself sometimes!

  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,484 Forumite
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    ha ha I've been trying to think of a witty response!  So awkward - post lady has just been and I haven't received them yet.  She may well think I've ripped the tickets into a thousand pieces and stamped all over them. 
    £216 saved 24 October 2014
  • gingerdad
    gingerdad Posts: 1,919 Forumite
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    I feel your pain, we have an old septic tank, but as we and the solicitor were not sure it was compliant with the new legislation we had a survey done on it, which showed some issues but that it was also compliant with the new legislation as the soakaway doesn't release into a watercourse.  (we where quoted 10k + vat to install a new on if needed, luckily we didn't need it)
    The futures bright the future is Ginger
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