Registration of septic tanks present conveyancing risk to unwary

Registration of septic tanks present conveyancing risk to unwary

Local firm reminds Liverpool of EPP2 and the need to register septic tanks.  Is it time to change your procedures now before the compulsory date?
Whilst the ability to register septic tanks has existed since April 2010 the deadline for compulsory registrations of tank at the 31st December 2011 is fast approaching.  If you are a conveyancer particularly in a rural area are you taking this into account with your conveyancing risk management procedures now?
Kevin Ross of Brown Turner Ross Solicitors of Liverpool and Stockport is quick of the mark to use this as a marketing opportunity and has recently highlighted to the Liverpool Echo the challenges that arise for home owners and developers with septic tanks from 1st January 2012.  Kevin is quoted as saying “People trying to sell or buy a property with an unregistered septic or those who are unable to provide the correct documentation will find that mortgage lenders will not release the funds to complete mortgage transactions”
Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 householders with existing or new septic tanks will have to register the tank with the Environmental Agency or face a broad range of enforcement actions from the Agency.
Any conveyancer acting on the purchase of land should require evidence of the registration, any conditions imposed on the registration and details of maintenance after that date but potentially even now to avoid purchasers buying into problems with the registration of tanks e.g. being in a sensitive environmental area.
Larger properties for example with 10 or more occupants may require an environmental permit rather than a mere registration and unless you are up to speed with these legal changes there are likely to be many risks for conveyancers who “take a view”.
Registration can take 15 working days and could substantially delay a sale if discovered at a late stage in a transaction.
Kevin Ross explained to the Liverpool Echo “The change in the law also gives local authorities new powers to conduct environmental searches of the areas surrounding properties with unregistered septic tanks which the property owners may be liable for the cost.”
Conveyancers acting for purchasers should consider asking sellers to register tanks now prior to exchange to protect their clients.

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