Will a septic tank cause a stink when I buy or sell a house?

If you own a property which drains into a septic tank you may have received correspondence from the Environmental Agency advising you to replace your system.

The General Binding Rules introduced in The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) 2014 have been in force since January 2015.

Under the General Binding Rules a septic tank which drains into a surface water (eg ditch, stream, river, etc.) must be replaced or upgraded when the house it serves is sold. The Rules also require such a system to be replaced or upgraded by 1st January 2020 if the house is not sold before this time.

Replacing or upgrading an outdated septic tank to a system that is compliant with the General Binding Rules can cost up to £10,000 – in some exceptional cases this has been more. When buying a house served by a septic tank your conveyancer should establish whether the system needs to be replaced. If you are selling a house with a septic tank which drains into a public watercourse your buyer may require you to meet the cost of the new system.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a house served by a septic tank please call our Conveyancing experts for advice on 0113 264 4414 or email conveyancing@emsleys.co.uk.

Mark Laird

Written by

Mark Laird


Mark worked as a paralegal for five years before qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2007. Since then he has specialised in all aspects of residential conveyancing.

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