Selling a house with a septic tank
Selling a property with a septic tank shouldn’t be more of a problem than selling one without, providing you are aware of relevant rules and regulations.
A septic tank is like any other part of your property; some people will see it as a positive addition, while others may feel it’s not for them.
The key to a hassle-free sale is to do your research and avoid rushing.
Make sure your septic tank is up to date with the relevant regulations and maintenance before putting your house on the market, and always be transparent with prospective buyers.
Here we run through everything you need to know about selling a property with a septic tank to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Septic tank regulations
Before putting a property on the market, you should make sure your system complies with all the relevant laws and regulations surrounding septic tanks.
If your existing system does not adhere to current, you may need to replace or convert it to do so before listing a property for sale.
Details of the latest changes to the regulations surrounding septic tanks can be found on the Government’s website here: ‘General Binding Rules: small sewage discharge to a surface water’.
These new rules state septic tanks must not discharge wastewater into a water course.
Instead they should use a soakaway or drainage field, or be replaced with a sewage treatment plant.
If you are selling a property with a septic tank that discharges directly into a watercourse, you will need to reach an agreement with the buyer about who will be responsible for replacing or upgrading the system to comply with the General Binding Rules.
That should then be listed as a condition of the sale.
Failing to meet the General Binding Rules can lead to enforcement action being taken.
What information must you provide the buyer with?
If you’re selling a property with a septic tank, then you must be transparent with buyers about the fact the property uses a one and provide a detailed specification of the system.
In fact, You are required by law to inform a buyer in writing about the presence of a septic tank.
You should also let them know:
- Where the septic tank is located
- A description of the septic tank and the associated and drainage system
- Details of any changes that have been made to the system
- What kind of upkeep and maintenance the system needs
- Whether there are any problems with the system
- The age of the system
- The date it was last emptied
Prior to selling your property, you should collate all documentation associated to the system and any paperwork detailing changes, repairs or maintenance that have been carried out since it was installed.
You should always keep records for at least seven years.
Homebuyer’s drainage survey
A faulty or damaged septic tank can be expensive to repair or replace, and if your buyer knows nothing about septic tanks they are likely to want an expert’s opinion on the system’s condition to put their mind at rest.
A standard building survey won’t inspect a septic system, so an interested party may request a homebuyer’s drainage survey is carried out to check its condition and to make sure it meets all existing regulations while at the same time identifying any problems or damage.
If your buyer decides to commission one, then on the day your septic tank will be emptied to give the surveyor a clear view inside.
A buyer also has a responsibility to check the septic tank system is in good working order and complies with all relevant regulations before committing to purchase.
An outdated, faulty, or non-compliant septic tank can dramatically reduce interest in your property and knock money off its value.
It is in the seller’s best interest to ensure that isn’t the case before putting their property on the market to encourage a quick, profitable, and hassle-free sale.
If you are thinking about selling your property and need to convert, or replace, your existing septic tank to bring it in line with the latest regulations, get in touch with the team at OMDI for advice by calling us on 01877 800 418.