We spoke to two septic companies to find out more about these important changes that will affect septic inspections or selling a home with a cesspool or system in need of repairs:

Effective immediately, when a septic company receives an order for inspection, they must now fax forms to the Atlantic County office in regards to the inspection order. New regulations require the septic companies to provide in depth information in order for the county to research and approve the inspection therefore the septic companies must have this information at time of order.  By law, the county office has 7 days to research filed documents on the property and return paperwork to the septic company approving the inspection.
Additionally the septic companies are now required to send reports of the inspection results (regardless if passed or failed) to the county so the county will know about the system. The county and engineers will now be more involved in any replacement systems. In addition, it is law that properties with cesspools can no
longer go to settlement. Any property with a cesspool must comply with county procedures in replacing (not repairing) the system PRIOR TO CLOSING.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO HOME SELLERS AND BUYERS FOR A HOUSE WITH SEPTIC SYSTEM:

1) Inspections may no longer be immediately scheduled.  This is now a service that will have to be ordered as soon as possible to ensure it is completed in time due to the now extended process. Some companies may still schedule right away, but
documentation will still need to be completed, sent to and returned from county prior to results being sent to parties. Other companies will not schedule inspection until they have submitted and received the returned documents from the county.

2) Extra caution may be needed with short sales. For buyers, some short sale addendums will state ALL inspections have to be done within 10 days from the conclusion of attorney review. It may not be possible to get the septic inspections done in this time unless acted upon immediately, all information is provided to the septic company, and there will be no delays in obtaining access to the property thus delaying the scheduling of inspection. If a buyer is purchasing a short sale property and would be responsible for a new system, this will have to be done PRIOR to closing. If the seller/3rd party lien holder is to pay, this is something you may want to disclose to them immediately.

3) The prices of the inspections have more than doubled. While some companies may have been lenient on payment at closing, they may now require payment at time of order, not inspection. The county may also have a say in the repairs, if needed, thus incurring additional costs.

4) If you are a seller with a septic system, you may want to get items required for inspection addressed so when a buyer‘s side or a septic company calls, you have the information already. If you are the buyer, you may want to get this
information from seller’s side at time of offer or contract to avoid any delays in ordering inspection.  (We can provide a list of items needed for inspection.)

5) If you are selling a property, or buyers placing an offer on a property, with a cesspool, this system is going to have to be replaced even if it is in working order according to new regulations. Per one of the septic companies we spoke to, new systems can range from S15,000.00 to $25,000.00. You may want to contact a
septic company to discuss in advance in case there are more changes.

We hope this information will be helpful to you and of course we are here to make sure your transaction is as smooth as possible.

Best wishes,

Matthew Haviland

Dene Ponzetti
Settlement Coordinator

The Haviland Group