Anumber of properties I’ve looked at say that the asking price reflects that the fosse needs replacing. And even some renovated houses still have a non-conforming fosse septique. Is it possible to put a price on replacement? Or is this dependent on the length of my string? Richard Hills
Mary Hall, property manager and former chartered surveyor, (email@example.com) replies: Yes, the length of your string is important! Non-mains drainage installations ( assainissement non-collectif) comprise several elements. Pipework takes waste from the house to the fosse tank, which ‘pre-treats’ the waste before it’s filtered out through a drainage field ( épandage). The system needs primary and secondary ventilation, and if the fosse is sited away from the house, a grease trap ( bac à graisse) it is put in between the house and the fosse.
Installation costs vary according to the size of the property, boundaries, access and the sub-soil. For three-to-five bedroom houses I’ve recently seen bills from €6,500-€10,000; difficult sites or larger properties will cost more. For non-conforming installations, the ‘ mise au normes’ to bring them up to standard depends on what the inspection report specifies. If you’re really keen on a property, the answer is to ask the estate agent to obtain quotes. It’s not an unusual request, and in today’s market the agent should be keen to do everything possible to achieve a sale.