Borehole/Septic Tank and Right of Easement

Hi,
I'm hoping to complete a purchase on a house in NE Derbyshire, and I'm trying (with a bit of success) to push our solicitors to complete by 19th.
The latest sticking point is that the house has it's own septic tank, and it's own water supply by way of a borehole and waterpump.
The solicitors say that it may take a while to determine if there are any problems with this. They've specifically mentioned a right of easement for the septic tank, but were a bit vague as to what they'd check regarding the borehole.
I guess that some questions will be resolved by looking at the deeds, but what else might they need to check? Is there anything I can pay for myself to speed up the process? Missing the 19th will mean an extra outlay on storage etc. so paying extra myself for information up to about the 450-500 mark would still be economical.
Thanks
sean
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Hi Seani

Sounds like they're being a bit over-keen, maybe ??

We have both a septic tank and well-water. From personal experience buying this property - I think I'd be interested in answers to the following....
a) When was the septic tank last emptied ? b) When was the septic tank installed - and what is its construction (ancient or modern <g>) ? c) When was the well borehole pump installed / serviced d) Is there a certificate of water analysis available (you can get your own analysis done for 60 - 150) e) Is there a water filtration / sterilisation system installed - what does it consist of - and when was it last serviced?
The kind gent who sold us this place 'swapped out' the well-pump when he left - and we ended up with the old, knackered one - which 'died' after about a month. Nice ! Likewise with the filtration / sterilisation system.
Neither of them really costly items - but a bit irritating, nevertheless....
The vendor should be able to answer the above questions without thinking too hard..
Good luck Adrian Suffolk UK ======return email munged================take out the papers and the trash to reply
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The little old lady I bought an old pumping station bungalow from told me "The tank only needs pumping out every 6 months".
2 weeks after we moved in, it backed up (as unpleasant as it sounds).
Got someone round to pump it out,"Oh you're new here. The old lady was having me round every 2 weeks to pump out, the herringbone is completely clogged".
I doubt your solicitor knows anything about how a septic tank works. Either check it's sound yourself or get someone in that knows - it actually working will probably be more important than a document that says it does. That said, he will be of use though to check it's legal and has modern compliances (possibly an Environment Agency certificate for the outfall).
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snipped-for-privacy@gglz.com wrote:

Thanks for the advice gents.
I should probably clarify that we are really only interested in satisfying the solicitor/bank so that we can go ahead and complete. The *actual* working condition of the septic tank and borehole is fairly immaterial to us; we want the place regardless and are prepared to spend what it takes to put things right.
That said, the couple we're buying it off have two small children, and I tend to think they'd have difficulties living there if either were particularly troublesome.
The main problem is that the bank ask the solicitors to undertake any necessary searches, without specifying what they may be. Presumably meant to protect the banks investment in the property. What *I'm* prepared to risk seems immaterial.
So I wanted to try to anticipate the actual checks they'll insist on, and see if I can hurry them up.
However I appreciate the advice, and I *will* have everything professionally checked out after we've moved in, if I'm not obliged to do so before.
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With regard the "easement", I assume that the borehole/septic tank and related pipework may not be all on your land? If thats the case you have to have the legal right (easement) to use that part of the system that is on neighbouring land. The rigths you need should be carefully set out in the title deeds, but this is not allways the case!
However, if there is no easement referred to in the deeds you can either get the seller to enter into a deed with the relevant land owner clearly detailing the various rights, but this would take several weeks. As you are keen to complete you could proceed by taking out an indemnity policy which should be acceptable to the lender although your solicitor might have to refer this to them first (this can also take time!). The cost of this should be a few hundred pounds, but should be paid for by the seller as its a defect in their title (although if you are keen to complete you may want to pay the premuim yourself to save time negotiating).
Also with a borehole, in certain circumstances, you have to have a licence from the Environmental Agency to extract water. I have acted for someone in a similar situation but I have to say I have forgotten the details, but if you ring the environmental agency they would be able to advice you.
Hope this helps.
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I'd never thought of this before until this question of easement arose - does it apply to all of the septic tank system; I suppose in fact it does. My tank is within my garden but the outlet runs a foot or so beyond the fence and then drops 2m vertically to a stream that was put into an 18" porcelain pipe possibly as much as 100 years ago; the tank is likely to be 80 years old. Do I need an easement for possibly no more than a couple of feet ?
Rob
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Along similar lines but from the opposite point of view, my parents septic tank flows into an open ditch which eventually makes its way into a stream. But there are also about 6 other houses emptying into this ditch via the same pipe, we just happen to own the land where it comes out. There is no mention in our deeds about this at all, I wonder should I look at the neighbours and see if there is a mention? If not what sort of problems could my parents or their neighbours have? This hasn't cropped up as a problem for 50 years to my knowledge though. There again we are just about to ask the council planners to explain how 3 new houses are to dispose of the outflow of their septic tanks into "an existing water course" when the only way they can go is over our land, not the same route as the others. This may open a can of worms, or worse?
--
Bill

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Yes.
--
"Other people are not your property."
[email me at huge [at] huge [dot] org [dot] uk]
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seani wrote:

I think the legal terms you mentioned apply to rights of getting, and getting rid of, the water.
An easement is IIRC a limited right to do something to someone elses land...for example have a drive across it if your house is not connected any other way to a public road.
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snipped-for-privacy@gglz.com wrote:

Easement doesn't cover whether it works - it covers whether you have the legal rights to dump the efflux onto someone else's land downstream and maybe in the case of the borehole, the right to suck water from it.
I'd always bang in a klargester meself. Having been forced to have one, the total absence of smell and the ability to simply dump into the ditch is wonderful
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An easement is a legal right you have over land that you do not own and therefore it should be detailed in both your deeds and the neighbouring properties deeds. However, you can get rights through usage (prescriptive rights) and generally if the right has been exercised for over 20 years then there is a presumption that you have a legal right even if there is nothing referred to in the deeds.
Generally, no one can create a new easement over your land without your consent. With regard the new builds the developer can ask you whether they can drain over your land but this would be subject to them paying you the appropriate rate for granting the easement (a surveyor would be able to advise on the fee) and a deed would have to be drawn up.
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I'm not too sure that the Prescriptive Right still exists as it is possibly in conflict with the Human Rights acts.
Rob
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Adrian Brentnall wrote:

Good points, but not show stoppers. You can install a brand new Klargester for about 7 grand.
Borehole water is almost always really really good. Only problem is crap pressure as you have to 'tank' it. Nothing expensive in there at all..pump and/or float valves occasionally give trouble. Neither are expensive or hard to fix.
I have no idea what the solicitor is farting about for, but rem,ember, he works for you. Get him - and brook no denial to explain fully the possible implications of going ahead without the spurious issues he has raised being fully resolved..
Rem,ember that solicitors have one great pleasure and one great fear. The pleasure is in taking naive clients through many hours and weeks of bollocks of trivial issues that are almost irrelevant.
The great fear is that not only may they get found out doing this, but they may get found out having missed something vital, and get sued by you and another solicitor.
Hence the tendency to nitpick. I sold a house recently - the purchaser's solicitor went all sniffy about FENSA certificates. In the end I said 'haven't got em. Do you want the house or not?' Turns out the client did...
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Although it looks as if the whole drainage/water supply issue is sorted out, FENSA certificates did indeed raise their ugly head, our solicitor saying that they hadn't been issued for windows fitted in 2002. I was about to opine that I couldn't give a monkeys anyway, when the vendor volunteered to pay for a 20 insurance premium that gives us 100,000 worth of replacement windows should they prove to be faulty or if the council objects to them. All very civil (and also the fastest way to resolve any potential issue).
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seani wrote:

These indemnity policies are worthless from a practical point of view because if you read the small print they only cover you for any costs/losses incurred if the Council take action against you for not having a FENSA certificate and do not meet current regulations. If at least a year has elapsed then this is never going to happen.
Its important to note that it will not cover you if the windows are simply faulty and you want to get them put right.
They are also used widely where building regs approval is not available/not been obtained and again they cost around 20.
There was an article in one of the legal magazines recently, where is was stated that there has not been a single action taken by a local authority against the owners of a private residential property for breach of building regs/lack of FENSA where at least a year has elapsed. Thats why they are so cheap as the risk to the insurance company is virtually nil.
However, to get purchases completed they are vital for the simple reason that its became accepted practise, and importantly, lenders insist on them even though they are worthless.
As you say, most purchasers couldn't give a monkeys anyway, especially for FENSA certs, and if they have any real concerns about the structure then they should get a full structural survey and not rely on some half baked insurance policy.
Hope your settling in well, it sounds an interesting place!
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geoffr wrote:

Thanks, we are, although exhausted.
Interesting information on the certifications. We are probably going to replace most of the windows in any case, and the ones that are in, although not exactly pretty, seem to be sound enough. A council objection and an order to replace them would be ideal as far as we're concerned, but fate wouldn't be that kind :-)
I'm having a whole battery of checks done on the place from independent surveyors for my own purposes now that we have the place, rather than relying on the mandatory checks we needed to satisfy the mortgage.
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seani wrote:

Thanks to everyone for their responses.
I ended up contacting the chap who lived there before the vendors. He is a partner in a drilling company, specialising in boreholes, and drilled the hole himself, and tested it the water in his companys own lab. I also contacted the company who empty the septic tank, and it turns out that it's been emptied at about 2yr intervals, with no problems evident. Neither of these sources have a reason to be less than truthful, so the evidence looks good.
I've also checked with the bank, and they confirmed that they don't need any other searches or evidence to release the funds.
I presented this lot to the Solicitor, and although there was a good deal of harumphing, they conceded that there were no problems outstanding that would prevent the exchange taking place this Friday, providing we agreed in writing to a couple of arse-covering clauses.
A pain in the arse, but instructive. I'll be better prepared next time.
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HI Seani

Well done - best of luck with your move. I nearly lost my sale through an over-cautious solicitor - but (fingers crossed) - it looks as if we're back on track again....
I know that they're naturally cautious people - but you do sometimes feel that they spend more time covering their own backsides than doing what I'm paying them for !
Good luck Adrian ======return email munged================take out the papers and the trash to reply
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Adrian Brentnall wrote:

I ended up driving to Chesterfield to pick up copy planning permission and other documents, and paying for and delivering them myself. Annoying that I should have to do it, but it seemed to do the trick, and we managed to move in on Saturday.
Cue comedy errors with the central heating and drainage etc., but the hardest bit is done with - now its just a case of finding the cash to put it all right.
Thanks
Sean
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