Our dream home in the country has no mains water. So what?

Ask the expert. Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, answers your questions
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Question: We’ve wanted to buy a house in the South West for ages and now we've found the perfect place. It's more or less in the middle of nowhere, which we think is great but it's worrying our solicitor. He has the contract papers but is astonished that there's no mains water. Should we be concerned? What are the issues with this? It is new to us but it sounds as though it's new to our solicitor, too.
Man looking for water
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Answer: If estate agents were involved it is a shame that they did not point this out earlier on. The sellers in their replies to the Property Information Form presumably disclosed there is no mains water supply. There must be a private water supply.

I would expect your solicitor to carry out enquiries of the local water authority to reveal the location of the nearest mains water, which could be several miles away.

Establish the cost of connecting to the mains water supply in case you wish to do so in the future. This is likely to be expensive.

Ask the seller about the quality of the water, whether it has been tested and how often, and ask to see the test results. If this has not been done, request the seller to carry out such tests prior to exchange of contracts .

Also enquire about the source of the water and its availability. Establish the route of the supply pipes and if there is a legal right for the water to run to the property through those pipes, which may be under or over land belonging to others. Your solicitor must see whether there would be an obligation on you to supply water to any other properties in the vicinity, or if the supply is shared.

Finally your solicitor needs to report the private supply to any lender you may have prior to exchange of contracts.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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