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Septic Tank Change

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  • Septic Tank Change

    My wife and I own a semi detached bungalow. We have access to a septic tank located in the property next door. The owner of the property is now asking me to split (50/50) the cost of fitting a new sewage treatment unit to replace the septic tank to comply with new General Binding Rules on the use of septic tanks.

    The total cost of the work is £9,383.40 which will mean us having to pay £4591.70. As we are both in our eighties this is not an amount that will be easily acquired.

    According to my title deeds it states “all existing rights easements quasi-easements and all other rights of a similar nature that may exist and affect the property hereby conveyed or any part thereof TOGETHER WITH the right to pass water and soil through the pipes and into the septic tank situated on the property known as (name stated) upon paying a proportionate part of the expense of keeping the said septic tank cleansed and in good repair together with all such rights of access as may be necessary for the proper exercise of these rights”

    I would like to know if we are legally bound to cover half the cost of the new installation.

    Thank you

    Tags: None

  • #2
    Before advising on this matter we would need to know what existing system is.
    If it was installed prior to 1983 there is no need to do anything to the septic tank as there were no British standards that had to be met.

    All other general binding rules need to be met.
    assuming the discharge system was functioning prior to 31 Dec 2014 the rules can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.go...ding-rules.pdf

    I certainly wouldn't just be paying up.
    Your liability is for cleansing and keeping in good repair.
    Whether that should be extended to cover the binding regulations (which refer to the discharge) is debatable

    You need to look into whether or not the discharge is to ground or surface water to discover what parts of the regulations now apply that require complete replacement of the system.
    IMO, with the little info you have given, your neighbours have decided for whatever reason they want to upgrade the system and you to contribute to the cost. Whether or not it is necessary is a different matter.

    PS NEW? these regulations were effective Jan 2015 !


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. Let me say from the start I have never felt the need to check/investigate where the system discharge eventually end up so I am having to accept things in good faith.

      From my own research it all seems to come down to whether replacement of the septic tank to comply with the latest discharge rules as defined under the binding regulations is covered by the clause in our deeds or not, and opinion on this seems to be divided.

      There is also the the common law doctrine of mutual benefit and burden whereby, if a person has the benefit of something they have the burden of care and maintenance could apply thus making us liable or whether the deed is superior to the common law doctrine therefore what the deed says applies.

      At the end of the day the owner is the one who is going to benefit more because he will only be liable for half the cost if we pay but will have the sewage treatment plant as a permanent fixture.

      As things are I am undecided as to whether to reject the quotation in full or to accept we have no choice but to pay but to try and spread that over a period of time, say a couple of years, so that our finances aren't damaged.

      The owner and his wife are well positioned in the community and have several properties they rent, besides coming from a well established farming community. In short, they have more money than we do!!


      • #4
        It doesn't seem to me likely that the tank needs replacing just to comply with the latest binding rules. (but that does depend on circumstances unknown to us)

        The deed may or may not be enforceable either under common law or equity.
        The question is "does the deed extend to the replacement of the tank rather than just its upkeep and maintenance?"
        If it does, the question then is "is the replacement necessary?"

        The neighbour can't just roll up and say "I'm replacing the tank to comply with latest regulations, please pay half" without justifying it.
        I would at least be asking for a copy of the surveyor or engineers's report and then possibly having my own independent survey carried out.


        • #5
          Good afternoon. Following on from my question about the septic tank replacement. My wife and I have reviewed our options and it seems that we probably would have to pay half the costs (this is the considered majority view and that of septic tank suppliers). That being the case we have decided that it would be more cost effective for us to install our own sewage treatment plant so we are independent and no longer bound by the easement on costs. We are intending to have this work started within two weeks well before any work is done on the replacement next door. I just wanted to check that if, provided we give written notice to the owner of next door of our intention in that time, he will not be able to take any action against us as nothing is stipulated about this in the easement.Â*


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