All you need to consider when buying a property with off mains drainage.
Picture the scene... You’ve just moved into your beautiful new rural home, the one you’ve had your heart set on for years.
You’re sat relaxing in the garden enjoying the fresh air, views of rolling hills and the sounds of the birds tweeting in the trees.
Here at UKDP we often get calls from people who have recently purchased their lovely new country pad. Then one day they start to notice trouble brewing underground. Perhaps strange smells coming from the garden, gurgling pipes, or murky boggy patches in the garden. So they call UKDP to find out what’s what.
The first thing to ask is whether a Home Buyer Drainage Survey was carried out. Unfortunately, the answer is nearly always ‘no’.
With the cost of replacing a damaged drainage system typically costing upwards of £10,000, and the cost of a Home Buyer Drainage Survey a mere fraction of that cost, it is not a risk worth taking.
But there is no need to panic! Here is our indispensable guide to buying a property with a septic tank. It doesn’t have to be stressful, but you do need to know exactly what you’re taking on to avoid potential costly mistakes.
Around 95% of properties in the UK have a mains drainage connection – waste water from toilets, showers, sinks and washing machines flow into a nearby main sewer. Charges are paid to a local water and sewage company.
The remaining 5% of properties, typically not situated near a main sewer, have their own self-contained off mains drainage system. This is usually a tank, which would either be a:
Options 1 and 2 will then discharge to a soakaway system or pipework to a local watercourse.
Option 3 is just a holding tank for the waste, with no outlet.
We've compiled everything you need to know about off mains drainage into this handy guide.
Buying a property with off mains drainage needn’t be daunting, but you should enter any purchase negotiations with your eyes wide open, especially if it is the first time you have considered purchasing such a property.
Here are some things to consider and what you should be asking to ensure you avoid any unpleasant and costly post-purchase surprises.
The problem is, of course, that drainage systems sit out of sight underground, and it can be difficult to know what state it’s all in.
Things might seem as though they are working fine, but don’t take this at face value - problems underground can take time to show up above ground.
Even a standard building survey won’t go beyond a quick look into any manhole covers and a recommendation to get a specialist report. The condition of the drainage system is as fundamental to the wellbeing of the property as that of the roof, so don’t make the move without knowing exactly what you’re taking on.
The answer? The Home Buyer Drainage Survey.
First and foremost, peace of mind. When you’ve got your heart set on a property, the last thing you want to do is find out about any possible problems.
Often the survey will reveal a well-maintained system that should continue to provide many years of trouble-free use. Or it may reveal some issues that need addressing – and of course it’s much better to know about these before the sale has gone through. Either way, your Home Buyer Drainage Survey will give you the complete reassurance that comes with knowing the exact condition of the property you are purchasing – from top to bottom.
All for a fixed fee that is a fraction of the cost of a replacement drainage system.
Buying a property is the biggest investment you will likely make, and with
a Home Buyer Drainage Survey, you can be confident in the decisions you are making.