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Buying house with build over sewer and manhole

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  • Buying house with build over sewer and manhole

    Hi All,

    First time here and first-time buyer sorry for long post - I am desperate for some help please!

    I have found a lovely house with offer accepted for my mum and I, but on second viewing I found out from the owner that the rear extension was built in 1998 and goes over the manhole preventing access to the drain (it is near the back French doors and under laminate flooring) - and I think it is actually a sewer not just a drain as it is shared with 8 other houses (this house is no. 4 in the set). I am not sure if there is another manhole or inspection chamber / other access point underneath / near the house but owner doesn't seem to know. When I asked the owner what happens if there is a blockage the owner said he has never had one but wouldn't know how to access the pipes.

    My concerns are as the work was done before 2011, there is no build over agreement with water company which would mean that Thames Water can come along and demolish the extension if they need to access the sewer pipes? There was planning permission and building control permission but I don't think there is any paperwork that shows certification that the works were done according to plan and that it was done properly.
    Also, I will likely be asked (and would want to get for peace of mind) a drain survey but not sure how to ask for this as the seller is not going to want to open up the manhole as it is underneath the laminate flooring of the extension now.

    And even if we do get a survey done somehow and the drains are all good, what if TW do want to access for whatever reason - I will have to still have to fork out the cost of digging up the extension?
    The survey and searches have not been done yet and my solicitor has not started work - wanted to find out as much as possible before having to spend money and time on a no go. And no point going further if seller will not allow the drain survey.

    My questions:
    1) Is this info about the build over and manhole a deal breaker?
    2) What can I do to make sure I am covered enough to purchase the property with peace of mind and to make sure I will not have any problems selling in the future?

    Also, the main soil vent is down through the (now) middle of the house and this is where the upstairs bathroom and downstairs cloakroom connect to. I was hoping to convert the garage on the side one day into a downstairs bedroom and ensuite but not sure if that will work if the pipes are underneath the house and I would need to dig up the extension to enable this too.

    Thanks so much in advance for your help!!

  • #2
    Re: Buying house with build over sewer and manhole

    OHH Great!!!! You can contact Umega Lettings are a lettings and estate agents in Edinburgh City Centre
    Lettings Agents Edinburgh - Property Management Services