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Defective septic tank

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218 views 1 replies latest reply: 07 March 2016

We rent a cottage in a rural area. It has septic tank drainage. Before we agreed to rent the house we checked on line and learned that septic tanks generally needed to be emptied once every 2 or 3 years at a cost of around £200 each time.

We had the tank emptied in August 2015 and then again in December 2015 (£200 each time) and then found that it needed emptying again in February 2016. The waste disposal company that empties the tank says that the soakaway has failed and that the tank will almost certainly need to be emptied every month (as it has become a cesspit, rather than a septic tank). The landlord has agreed “Just this once” to pay for the tank to be emptied; it is his responsibility to provide proper drainage to the property, yet he is in denial that the soakaway has failed.

We can’t afford to pay £200 per month for septic tank drainage, it’s clearly his responsibility to pay for it, how can we enforce that?


Hi Christopher

Enforcing it is rather difficult as it would probably mean taking the landlord to court for breach of tenancy to recoup the cost as losses after you’ve paid them. However, most landlords wouldn’t want to end up in a court action so it may just be enough to make it clear that you know your rights and you’re ready to take action if necessary.

I’m not a lawyer but if the tenancy agreement makes the landlord responsible for the septic tank (if it’s mentioned in the inventory) then all you should have to do is refer the landlord to that and that should be enough. If you do want to take action or want some legal advice then Citizens Advice may be able to help.


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