Could a pre-purchase drainage survey save YOU £12,000?

Get the most from your septic tank | By Sam Warren

Could a pre-purchase drainage survey be the best investment you'll make?

In most situations, you'd consider putting £350 in to get £12,000 out to be a pretty good return on investment. If you're buying a new property, arranging a pre-purchase drainage survey with UKDP could achieve just that.

When you're eyeing up your new home, the last thing you want to be thinking about is possible problems with the drainage system.....after all, many people follow their heart and not their head when it comes to finding their dream house.

Most standard building surveys will only take a basic look at the property's drainage system - perhaps a quick lift of the manhole to make sure things aren't overflowing. The majority of surveyors will recommend that a more thorough survey of the drainage system is undertaken, but often this advice is ignored. On one hand we can understand why. Once you've found your new home, there's a whirlwind of things to do before the big move. No one really wants to find out that there may be problems that could delay the house sale - or maybe even make you think twice about buying it. But burying your head in the sand is rarely a good idea, because septic tank problems can be very expensive to fix.

Here at UKDP, we get a number of calls from people who have bought their dream house, only to find out months later that there are all sorts of problems bubbling up under ground. By the time the house sale has gone through, it's too late to do anything about it - other than to start raiding your piggy bank for the funds to put it right. Sometimes, your buildings insurance will provide cover for the costs of septic tank repair, most people are unaware that you don't actually need separate septic tank insurance. But if the problems started before you bought the property, your insurer will rightly say that the previous owner should have rectified the problems, and they won't cover the costs.

Know what you're getting yourself into....

A customer contacted us recently as they were buying a rural property in Kent. An initial buildings survey didn't spot any obvious problems with the property's septic tank, but the buyer wanted to be sure. They contacted our team and one of our engineers attended to undertake a thorough inspection once the septic tank had been emptied.

Not only did we find areas of structural damage to the tank, we also quickly noticed that it didn't comply with the current regulations on septic tanks. This meant that the buyer of the property would soon be on the hook for the costs of upgrading the system to make it compliant. The buyer negotiated with the seller to reduce the price of the property to cover the costs of the new system, saving them a hefty £12,000!

It's not all bad news....

Finding a septic tank problem doesn't have to spell trouble for the house sale. A thorough pre-purchase drainage survey will tell you exactly what is going on under ground - and if there is a problem, what needs to be done to put it right.

So, if a problem is found, what can be done to avoid any problems with the sale?

  • The buyer can request a discount from the seller to cover the costs of any repairs or replacement of the system if needed
  • The seller can get the drainage system working as it should be before the property changes hands
  • If there is damage found to the system, and we believe it might be covered by the seller's buildings insurance, we can manage a claim on their behalf. Often, this can happen behind the scenes while the sale continues unhindered, leaving the new owner with a fully functional system that should give them years of trouble-free use. As the only UK specialists in managing insurance claims for damaged septic tanks, our team can work with you to get everything sorted as quickly as possible.

Whatever a pre-purchase drainage survey reveals, we will provide you with a detailed report which explains exactly what's been found, and what (if anything) needs to be done to get the drainage system sorted. We'll explain everything to you in plain English and answer any questions you might have. To get your pre-purchase drainage survey booked in, call our team today on 0800 028 9903 or contact us here.

0800 028 9903