How to avoid a serious hidden defect? The steps to follow

A hidden defect is your worst nightmare when buying a home. However, septic installations are a frequent source of conflict and a problem of the most unpleasant to manage. Indeed, there are countless new buyers who find themselves with a non-compliant septic system, who must then take legal action against the previous owners and/or pay thousands of dollars to rectify the problem.

A septic system consists of a septic tank and a septic field. The pit is a buried hermetic tank that receives wastewater. The leaching field consists of a network of perforated pipes buried in gravel trenches, where the sewage coming out of the pit ends.

3D rendering of a house cross section showing bathroom and sewag

It is particularly important that these systems are in order, as failure can lead to contamination of well water, sewer backups into the house, and sewage discharges into the environment. Such problems are serious because they can not only have an impact on your health but also diminish the value of your new property.

How to avoid problems before you even engage in a transaction?

You will see here some simple steps that will help you avoid a lot of trouble.

Septic installation or not?

You have finally found a house that really interests you? First of all, find out if it has a sewage treatment system or if it is connected to the municipal sewage system.

  • If the property is connected to utilities, this process will be useless.
  • On the other hand, if the house has a septic tank and a septic tank, you must inform yourself about the conformity of the system.

How old is the installation?

Before you even get into the tendering process, ask the current owner how old the septic tank and the septic field are.

  • If the pit is before 1980, ask what material it is made of. Know that since 1980, metal septic tanks are no longer allowed. If the house you are considering is made of steel, it is probably all rusted and broken and will need to be replaced to meet the standards.

Septic Tank Sewage

  • Since August 1981, a permit is required to rebuild or restore a septic system. If the installation was made after this date, require the owner to provide you with a copy of the permit. If the owner has not applied for a permit during installation or renovation, the septic tank does not comply, which could cause you a lot of trouble. Do not buy the house without having the installation inspected and inform the municipality of the steps to follow to ensure compliance.

Require all documents related to septic installation

In addition to the development permit, ask the owner for any copies of the documents relating to:

  • On the purchase of the septic system (for details of the supplier)
  • Repairing the septic tank or septic field (you will know if problems
    have occurred along the way)
  • Drainage done since installation (usually done every
    two years for a principal residence)

Check how many rooms the installation can support

Make sure the number of rooms is in compliance with the permit. For example, if the permit states that the facility is adequate for only 3 bedrooms and that 4 bedrooms are listed on the listing, that means there is likely to be non-compliance. In this case, require the landlord to provide you with a copy of the renovation permit that should have been obtained before adding a fourth bedroom. If he does not have it in hand, beware because the municipality could inspect your septic system and require corrections too often expensive.

Use public registers

In the event that the owner is unable to provide you with all the necessary information to ensure that the septic installation is in compliance, do not hesitate to contact the Service or the Territory Management Division of the municipality where the house is. As the information on the buildings is public, they will give you the information they have on hand and answer your questions, with good knowledge of laws and regulations. You can either:

  • Speak directly to a municipal inspector
  • Fill out an online application form and wait to be contacted
  • Get information directly online via the municipality’s website

Note that if you are dealing with a real estate broker, he may have access to relevant information about the house via a web platform that requires a subscription.

Attention to clogging of the leaching field

Clogging is a fairly common problem in septic systems, which reduces system throughput. There is an obstruction when mud forms in the leaching field. The use of toxic products or fats can reduce the number of good bacteria that digest and reduce the presence of sludge and may cause undesirable accumulation.

Here are 6 symptoms of clogging. Be careful when you visit the house you like, to see if you detect one.

  1. Water pushes back and overflows where the septic tank cover is
  2. The water level is high in the tank of the pit
  3. The soil is moist, spongy on the surface of the leaching field
  4. The vegetation is denser than elsewhere in the field
  5. Sinks and sinks make abnormal sounds (“glouglou”) and referrals evacuate badly
  6. There are foul odours outside or even inside the building

When to carry out an inspection?

If you feel that you do not have enough information on hand, or that the septic system has any problems, call in a specialist to have it inspected and make sure everything is in order and in order before proceeding. an offer to purchase. You can get along with the seller to share the costs of the inspection.

Sand and Gravel Filter Bed

The life of a septic system is about 20-25 years. If the property you want to buy dates from before 2000, be aware that you will probably have to replace it within 10 years, or at least do some work to give it a second life. If this is the case, have the work evaluated carefully and take into account this big expense to come in your bid. The price of a septic system can range from $ 10,000 to $ 30,000 depending on several factors.


Before making an offer to buy a house, do not forget to have the building inspected by building inspections in Melbourne

If you’re in need of reliable building inspections in Warrandyte, building inspections in Boronia, building inspections in Box Hill, or building inspections in Camberwell, look no further. Our experienced team of inspectors will thoroughly assess the condition of your property, identifying any potential issues or safety concerns. With our comprehensive reports, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing the true state of your building.