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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7046
Experience:  BA honours degree in law, over 20 years experience in litigation, contract and property matters
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I purchased a semi detached cottage in February 2012. It

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I purchased a semi detached cottage in February 2012. It took six months to renovate and this included buying and installing a new drainage and septic tank system as there was only a cess pit that didn't work and was over flowing. I was quoted £10,000 to have my own septic tank but unfortunately, because next door's property was in such a mess as well and in an illegal state (they had their own cess pit but the overflow went through my ground and into the field beyond) we couldn't leave the blocked up sewerage outside our kitchen, so it cost an extra £4,000 to have their drainage sorted as well. Both properties use my septic tank which is suitable for up to six people. There are now five people in the house next door using the tank. At the time, there were two adults in the property: an elderly lady who has since died and her daughter. When I asked them to put their own system in they refused. I had to go ahead as I could not live without a septic tank.
In July last year I wrote a letter giving six months notice to put their own system in. They said they didn't have to do it. Since then, I have heard nothing.
Could you advise me as to how I stand. I could block the pipe but hope to resolve this matter without doing so.
Thank you,
***** *****

You have 2 alternatives.

You could offer them a personal licence to use your cess pit on the basis that they pay for the use and contribute to any maintenance based on the number of occupiers or you will block within , say, 21 days and they can make their own arrangements.

Whilst the first option is the line of least resistance there is the possibility of disputes in future in respect of maintenance bills etc so getting them to make their own arrangements is less hassle in the long run.

I suspect they have been told they have an easement of necessity but they do not have any implied right to use your system as they had a system before and can make their own arrangements. Using your system is not a matter of necessity.

I hope this helps if there are any further points please respond and I will be happy to reply.

Best wishes


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear *****,
Thank you so much for your advice. I feel the second option is the one I will go for. Could you just advise me on how long the notice I give should be. Would three months be appropriate? If they ignored it, could I then give the 21 day notice of blocking the pipe?
Thank you,
***** *****

Dear *****

I would go for the 2nd option too, it will save trouble down the line.

You have already given them a 6 month period so I would go directly to 21 days or 28 if you feel more is appropriate.

Best regards


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear *****,
Thank you so much for your help. I think this has been the best advice I have had for the least amount of money! I will definitely use this service again when required. After I have given the notice I will seek further advice from you if necessary.