Cesspit problem after completion of property purchase

25th Jun 2018

My partner and I completed the purchase of a property on 13th April 2018.

Prior to completion, we had an inspection of the cesspit from a local company who deemed the tank in good working order.

However, we have had numerous problems with the drainage since we have moved in and the chap who did the inspection has now actually deemed it as not in working order. A main contributing factor to us purchasing the tank was based on this report.

He says the previous owner covered up known faults and made the tank look in working order and did not disclose any known issues when he was there inspecting it.

We now have no working toilet and multiple blocked drains.

We have been quoted thousands of pounds to repair but I was wondering who is liable for the cost of repair?

The previous owner for covering up known defects? The company who inspected the tank and reported it in good working order (we have a full detailed report stating he initially diagnosed the tank to be ok but now it is in severe disrepair) or myself and my partner?

CATEGORY: Conveyancing & Property


2 answers
  • Integrum Law

    Given that you did the right thing by obtaining a report on the condition of the cesspit I would say that the surveyor is responsible and would suggest making a claim agaisnt him. He should have professional insurance for this type of claim.

    I think that the fact that the surveyor now says that the owner covered up faults is really no excuse, his job was to identify problems. You did not engage him to merely ask the existing owner if there were any faults; you could have done that yourself.

    If what he says has any merit he might want to bring a claim agaisnt the former owner himself.

    One word of caution, sometimes these reports contain all sorts of caveats to try and limit liaibilty and so it will need to be looked at carefully.

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    Integrum Law

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  • ISC Lawyers LLP

    The law is that you can't actively conceal a defect. That includes concealing it from an expert. For example, papering over cracks which would alert a surveyor to a problem. A surveyor isn't expected to remove wallpaper. So it's ultimately a question of fact - was there concealent and, if so, was your expert, acting with reasonable care and skill in not spotting it?

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    ISC Lawyers LLP

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