If you own a home in Summit or Park Counties with a septic system, there are septic inspection requirements that must be met in order for the property to change hands. Summit County septic inspection requirements dictate the seller is responsible to provide a use permit issued by the county prior to the sale closing.
How to get a use permit
In order to receive a use permit the seller must have an inspection done by a county certified inspector. In order to have the inspection done, the septic must be pumped. Generally the inspection company will pump it or arrange to have it pumped prior to the inspection. The inspection includes a look at the tank and the leach field. It will indicate any issues that need to be corrected. Some items may need to be addressed before the county will issue a use permit. Once the system has an adequate inspection report, you will fill out a form and the inspection company will submit it to the county with the report. The inspection typically costs around $1000. The use permit is good for one year from the date of issue. If you haven’t sold your home by then, you will have to repeat the process.
Snow can be costly
Snow and frozen ground can make the inspection more costly. You don’t want to dig up your septic lids in the winter. Especially if they are buried a couple of feet below ground. Depending how much snow there is and how deep and frozen the ground is, it may require significant excavation equipment. That will certainly add to the expense. Ideally you want to arrange for the inspection to take place between April and October. That may mean you wait until you are under contract before having an inspection. It could mean that you have the inspection done as soon as you list the property. It may also mean that you dig up the lids and just shovel snow from around them all winter long. As you make this determination, also keep in mind that your use permit is good for one year.
You may need a new septic tank
If your septic system was originally installed in the 1960s or before, your septic probably won’t pass the inspection. Septic tanks use to be metal tanks. Summit County no longer allows metal tanks. That means you would be required to update your tank or connect to the sewer, if it is available to you. Either could mean a significant expense. Occasionally the county will allow a waiver and let the property change hands without meeting current requirements. Waivers are very rare and you should not count on one. The county’s only leverage to ensure septic systems are environmentally safe is when a property changes hands or significant improvements are made to the property. They know that and generally utilize those times to enforce the rules.
Sellers should be aware of one more item. It is not uncommon for a buyer to request the septic inspection report and ask for any needed repairs during their inspection period. Adding lid risers is a common recommendation noted on the report. It is not significant enough to stop the issuance of a use permit. But because it is a recommendation, buyers will want the seller to take care of it.
It is important that both buyers and sellers are aware of septic inspection requirements prior to the sale taking place. It means additional money out of pocket for the seller and potential costs for the buyer in the future.
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