Septic systems

January 16, 2008

In purchasing property in a rural area guess what is perhaps the leader in litigation inducing discord. Septic systems. People moving from urban to rural areas are particularly susceptible to this cause of emotional disruption. Also first time buyers and generally folks who have not lived on a septic system. By statute now the seller of a residence is required to answer several questions about the septic system if there is one. This requirement has curbed the problem somewhat but often the seller’s interest in selling seems to outweigh his interest in making full disclosure. Buyer’s real estate agents have not proven to be sufficiently informed or motivated to see that the buyer always avoids the surprise of discovering a nonfunctioning septic system. The consequences of this situation are potentially disastrous, as it is unlawful to occupy a building that is neither on a sewer system nor on a lawful, functioning septic system.

People routinely order home inspections before buying but ordering a septic inspection is for some reason not entirely routine. It should be. A home inspection does not include septic, so the two should be ordered at the same time. By law generally speaking a purchaser is entitled to rely on the statements in a seller’s disclosure statement but prudence recommends doing more. An inspection will inform you whether the system will soon need replacing or upgrading. You can also find out whether you need a new system in order to add on to the existing structure. As a responsible home-owner with a septic system you should try to learn as much as you can about it before buying.