Property conveyancing and sales processes can be fraught with issues. The worst-case scenario for all involved is when a last-minute glitch throws the transaction into jeopardy. Things which are overlooked, or only considered at the last minute, can cause real problems – and one of the most common causes of last-minute issues for rural properties are drainage systems such as septic tanks.
Off mains drainage systems, such as septic tanks, are located underground. Apart from the lid, nothing else should be visible. That’s why it can be easy to overlook and hard to assess the condition of. Most buildings surveys would have a good look at the structure of the building but very few will make a proper assessment of the drainage system. That creates risk for all parties involved in the sale.
There are two primary reasons. Firstly, if the tank is damaged or not working as it should be it will likely need to be replaced. A new septic tank, including installation, can cost up to £20,000. In some cases, more. If this is discovered late in the conveyancing process then that is a sizeable amount to try and negotiate from the agreed sale price, quite possibly enough to capsize the sale and the chain.
The second consideration is around whether the system complies with applicable regulations. It is the legal responsibility of the property owner to ensure that an off mains drainage system complies with current regulations, and failure to comply can lead to fines and prosecution. A significant change in regulations introduced in 2015 limits where a septic tank can or cannot discharge to, and government guidance sets down that a non-compliant system should be dealt with as part of any sale of the property. Again, discovering this sort of issue late in the day can be enough to derail the sale completely.
We have specialist survey solutions for both home buyers and vendors. They both have the same key objective – to make sure the sale goes through as quickly and efficiently as possible. For the vendor, getting a drainage survey undertaken early in the process allows them to address any issues identified or, if there are none, to proactively demonstrate to the buyer that all is as it should be. For buyers, our surveys remove the possibility of nasty and expensive post-purchase discoveries, ultimately giving them peace of mind that the out of sight drainage system has been investigated as thoroughly as the roof.
For professionals involved in property sales, recommending our surveys represents a value-added service to clients and is a proven way of avoiding last minute transaction collapses.
UKDP have been most helpful and knowledgeable from the initial telephone booking, right through to engineers site visits and the final drainage report. I would highly recommend UKDP if you are buying a property with a septic tank and you want reassurance that the drainage system is in good condition.P Hodgson
Want to know more about off mains drainage? We’ve got a guide for that too!