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Thread: Septic Question

  1. #1
    Lynn Morris's Avatar
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    Default Septic Question

    If an inspector comes out and looks at the septic, does NOT note any issues with it's functionality can he legally make a recommendation to the buyer that a new system be put in? The house is grandfathered here in Texas. Any new septic systems have to be aerobic but there is NOT one thing noted as wrong with it.

    Now the buyer is insisting on a new septic based on this guys personal comment.

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  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    I'm a HI in NC and I do not put anything in a report that I can not backup with written documentation from a recognized source. Your situation is the reason I do this. Once a buyer hears your opinion they can sometimes take it as fact when it is really only an opinion based on very little or no fact. Here is what the NC SOP says:

    (c) Home inspectors shall not:
    (1) Offer or perform any act or service contrary to law; or
    (2) Offer or perform engineering, architectural, plumbing, electrical or any other job function requiring an occupational license in the jurisdiction where the inspection is taking place, unless the home inspector holds a valid occupational license, in which case the home inspector shall inform the client that the home inspector is so licensed, and therefore qualified to go beyond this section and perform additional inspections beyond those within the scope of the Standards of Practice.


    In NC unless the inspector is a licensed septic system installer he has gone outside of his qualifications to say a system that is functioning properly needs to be replaced.

    There are several TX inspectors on this board and maybe they will chime in with info for TX.

    Last edited by James Duffin; 07-24-2011 at 04:03 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Morris View Post
    If an inspector comes out and looks at the septic, does NOT note any issues with it's functionality can he legally make a recommendation to the buyer that a new system be put in?
    Absolutely yes.

    You may have a functioning old system which is obsolete (which it seems that you are describing) and the home inspection SHOULD advise their buyer when a system is old and obsolete.

    NOT advising their client that a system is old and obsolete could then lead the client to suing the inspector for not advising them of such.

    The house is grandfathered here in Texas. Any new septic systems have to be aerobic but there is NOT one thing noted as wrong with it.

    Now the buyer is insisting on a new septic based on this guys personal comment.
    Sounds to me like the seller (which I suspect is you) and the real estate agent (both the listing and the selling agent) apparently dropped the ball in my opinion - the BEST THING a seller and the agents can do to ease a sale through is to DISCLOSE EVERYTHING and not hide anything, and if something is old and obsolete and you are waiting to see if the inspector "finds it" or not, chances are the inspector will and then the arguments and negotiations begin.

    Had it been disclosed and discussed in the for sale listings and information, and in the negotiations for the purchase, the buyer would have been aware of it and possibly already addressed it with the seller.

    If YOU were the buyer, wouldn't YOU want your inspector to tell you when a system was old and obsolete and would be costly to replace? I'm betting that YOU would NOT want YOUR inspector to NOT say anything about things like that.

    What this now comes down is the truth about all negotiations: the party who needs or wants the deal less wins.
    - If you need or want to sell more than the buyer needs or wants to buy, the win.
    - If your buyer needs or wants to buy more than you want or need to sell, you win.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Yep.

    You didn't say what kind of inspector, interesting, as a specialized septic system "inspection" is generally just that, specialized.

    Underwriting guidelines aren't what they used to be (no more loosey goosey) for buyer financing either.

    Note you also made no claims about its size, age, field fouling, colapse, proximity to waterways, contamination issues, proximity to foundation, or they system's "serviceability"!, etc.

    Grandfathered House!?! Sheesh .

    You claim its "functionality" is above reproach, I doubt that, and your ability to credibly certify same, for your private sewage treatment system.

    Your seller's/listing agent should be answering this question for you, and if you can't get the agent's attention, call the Broker. That's what they get paid for.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    The inspector came out to look at the system. In my area, that would be a licensed inspector who has training and knows what's what. He might nod and not say too much to you, because he was working for the buyer.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
    Lynn Morris's Avatar
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Morris View Post
    If an inspector comes out and looks at the septic, does NOT note any issues with it's functionality can he legally make a recommendation to the buyer that a new system be put in? The house is grandfathered here in Texas. Any new septic systems have to be aerobic but there is NOT one thing noted as wrong with it.

    Now the buyer is insisting on a new septic based on this guys personal comment.

    Jerry, You are assuming everyone is corrupt, however, everything was disclosed on the seller disclosure as to age. Nothing was hidden. The buyer we found out now just wanted more money it had nothing to do with the septic tank. Not everyone out there lies and hides things so please don't assume.

    James, If more guys were like you it would not be an issue. Thank you for having integrity!! If Texas had guys like you who didn't make recommendations on things they know nothing about and made false statements on their reports we'd be alot better off. Kinda like this inspector commenting on a pool. Shouldn't he be certified in that? Maybe he's just a know it all. Thanks James....

    the BEST THING a seller and the agents can do to ease a sale through is to DISCLOSE EVERYTHING and not hide anything, and if something is old and obsolete and you are waiting to see if the inspector "finds it" or not, chances are the inspector will and then the arguments and negotiations begin.

    What this now comes down is the truth about all negotiations: the party who needs or wants the deal less wins.







  7. #7
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    It's possible that the inspector's primary goal is covering his own butt - a great way to reduce one's liability while wreaking havoc along the way. Unfortunately I heard this approach preached from inspectors who are supposedly qualified to teach other inspectors.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  8. #8
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Morris View Post
    Jerry, You are assuming everyone is corrupt, however, everything was disclosed on the seller disclosure as to age. Nothing was hidden. The buyer we found out now just wanted more money it had nothing to do with the septic tank. Not everyone out there lies and hides things so please don't assume.

    James, If more guys were like you it would not be an issue. Thank you for having integrity!! If Texas had guys like you who didn't make recommendations on things they know nothing about and made false statements on their reports we'd be alot better off. Kinda like this inspector commenting on a pool. Shouldn't he be certified in that? Maybe he's just a know it all. Thanks James....

    the BEST THING a seller and the agents can do to ease a sale through is to DISCLOSE EVERYTHING and not hide anything, and if something is old and obsolete and you are waiting to see if the inspector "finds it" or not, chances are the inspector will and then the arguments and negotiations begin.

    What this now comes down is the truth about all negotiations: the party who needs or wants the deal less wins.

    The criteria for a home inspection in NC is that "a system has to be performing its intended function and not be in need of immediate repair taking into consideration normal wear and tear." To me that means that just because a system is old it does not mean it has to be replaced if it is still working properly. In my opinion an inspector should not be an advocate for a buyer to help extort money from a seller. A good inspector reports honestly what he sees and lets the buyer and seller work out a deal.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Morris View Post
    Jerry, You are assuming everyone is corrupt,
    Incorrect.

    I am presuming that SOME people are corrupt, and that SOME people who are not necessarily corrupt tend to tell things in ways to lessen the impact of what is said.

    In the home inspection profession, that second type of person tends to soft sell what they find so as to not be alarmist and chase real estate agent referrals away - but NOT ALL are that way, just SOME.

    everything was disclosed on the seller disclosure as to age. Nothing was hidden.
    That is good - did you disclose that your septic system was old and obsolete and could not be replaced without going to a new type of system?

    The buyer we found out now just wanted more money it had nothing to do with the septic tank.
    You will have those, just like you will have sellers who want to keep all the money and not correct things. Both kinds exist on both sides of the deal.

    You stated in your original post:
    "If an inspector comes out and looks at the septic, does NOT note any issues with it's functionality can he legally make a recommendation to the buyer that a new system be put in? The house is grandfathered here in Texas. Any new septic systems have to be aerobic but there is NOT one thing noted as wrong with it.
    "

    The answer is simple, the inspector SHOULD make recommendations on old and obsolete systems, and you implied that your system was one by stating "The house is grandfathered here in Texas. Any new septic systems have to be aerobic " It was "grandfathered" in, which means that it is old and obsolete and would no longer be allowed, and that a new system would "have to be aerobic", the old, obsolete and outdated system could not be replaced with a like kind.

    As I said in my previous post: "If YOU were the buyer, wouldn't YOU want your inspector to tell you when a system was old and obsolete and would be costly to replace?"

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Morris View Post
    If an inspector comes out and looks at the septic, does NOT note any issues with it's functionality can he legally make a recommendation to the buyer that a new system be put in?
    If the inspector is qualified to inspect the septic system and the system is obsolete, he should recommend replacing the system.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Morris View Post
    Now the buyer is insisting on a new septic based on this guys personal comment.
    Nobody is forcing you to put in a new system. You can always walk away from the sale.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  11. #11
    Alan Donnelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Septic Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    If the inspector is qualified to inspect the septic system and the system is obsolete, he should recommend replacing the system.




    Nobody is forcing you to put in a new system. You can always walk away from the sale.

    What makes a system obsolete. A report that says so should spell out the componets that are not working. Just becasue there is newer better technolgy does not, in my opinion, mean it needs to be replaced. Did same inspector call out the HVAC syestem as obsolete if it was not a 13 seer plus unit, or copper pipes becuse most people now use CPVC. On the other hand if he dug up the D box and observed the drain field was not working properly then....


  12. #12
    Alan Donnelly's Avatar
    Alan Donnelly Guest

    Default Re: New 2011 EPA Septic Regulations and Water Wells

    I am licensed to do septic inspections in 2 states, and a member of 2 national septic credentially organizations. Why is it neither state or organization has made its members aware of EPA requirments to replace systems. Very simple because they do not exist. This is an issue that is left up to state and sometime local goverments. With this type of dis infromation there is little wonder some folks look at Uncle Sam as the bad guy. The EPA may make suggestions but I have not heard of a situation where they are taking the lead.

    On the other hand at every continueing ed conferance I have attended someone invarible ask what about addtives. The answer from soil scientest, and other experts in the field has always been negative. A short term help at best.


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