Finding/Owning French Property

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Re: Fosse septique - we are at an impasse

ALBF yeah, we’ve lived in France before (renting) and worked there, schooled the kids there, sorted our bills, insurance, etc so we an idea of exactly what we’re up against which is why it’s an idea to ask the vendor to sort it in return for the full asking price.

They can only say no.

And yes, I know they probably will say no. Pessimism is in my nature.
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Re: Fosse septique - we are at an impasse

I can't see that happening to be honest and personally I would want to manage the project myself so that it is done properly.

If the house in your eyes is a bargain, and you like it that much, dig under the road. Or certainly get a quote for doing so. Then knock off the cost. Just make sure your Mairie is ok with that.

How wide is the road ?
ner ner nee ner ner!!
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Re: Fosse septique - we are at an impasse

UPDATE: agent called, said she’d found an English installer who sadly doesn’t do our region but has recommended this

Costs about £8.5k and is SPANC approved. She gave us his number so we’ll give him a call. Meanwhile she’s trying to find installers of it in our region and someone who’s had it fitted.

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Re: Fosse septique - we are at an impasse


How do you intend to sell the property in the future, as a British second home do you expect French buyers to employ a clear out every 20 months
I have been in France 22 years now in my forth home its down to situation and a good Fosse septique to make a profit
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Re: Fosse septique - we are at an impasse

Hello Sherlocked,
My name is Ruth and I'm the assistant editor at French Property News magazine. I put your question to Arthur Cutler, of, an Anglophone planning & design service in France. Here is his response. I hope it is useful. We would very much like to put an edited version of this question on our Ask the Experts pages in March French Property News. Would you be happy to be named at the bottom? If so, please email me at with your name. If not, we will just say "Name supplied".
Thanks and best wishes, Ruth

Arthur Cutler, of French Plans, replies:
I fully understand your frustrations in this regard – it is not uncommon in France to receive no acknowledgement or replies to emails or letters, or even to ‘phone messages. The culture here is very different to the UK at times!
There are a number of things to consider with this situation:
You could make your offer to purchase subject to a condition suspensive that the current owner installs a new system prior to completion, and that the new installation receives a certificate of conformity. If the existing system doesn’t conform, then the problem will arise for any potential buyer, so it is in the vendor’s interests to find a solution too.
It is absolutely possible to install a Microstation – some are specifically developed for small spaces and for second homes, and they can be craned over object in order to allow installation (they are almost all plastic, so not heavy compared to concrete tanks). However, not all regional SPANC (environment agency responsible for controlling septic tank systems) officers will accept them, and it will also depend on whether there is anywhere for the treated effluent to flow to (for example, a ditch in the road adjacent to the property). Some SPANC officials insist on the effluent passing through a filter-bed of some sort prior to evacuation.
Before a new waste system can be installed it is necessary to produce an étude de sol (soil test and report on the proposed new system) for approval. Local specialist surveyors will have knowledge of soil conditions and what the regional SPANC office will accept. The fee quoted of 400 – 650 € is about average for this type of report and test, so unless you can push the vendor to pay for this, or install an approved system as part of the purchase agreement, you will have to pay it. The report will give a detailed soil study and recommend a suitable system that will be acceptable for a second home, and also acceptable to SPANC.
There is nothing to be gained at this stage by discussing it with contractors (installers) as you need to have the étude de sol first. Then you can give that to contractors to quote for the installation.
It is also possible to get agreement from the Mairie to partially dig up the road to allow for pipes, etc., to pass to another parcel of land, but you would either have to own that parcel, or get approval from whoever does in order to go down this route. You would of course also have to pay for the re-instatement of the road afterwards unless it could be achieved using a mechanical “mole” to burrow through from one side of the road to the other.
If your French skills are limited, then it would be a good idea to source a bilingual property manager or service provider in the area who can deal with it for you, though there will of course be fees to pay for that service.

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