Septic permits questions - urgent please help :)

I am doing due diligence for an older mobile home park. I have been contacting the county health department for permits on the septic system. However, the official who is in charge of this seemed to not have the permits or the permits were issued way before their time (the park was built in the 80s). When I pushed to ask if the sewage system is legal, they would say that it is legal and they will keep it legal as long as the septic system is maintained and kept in good working order. They said they would find the permits some how (not sure if they could find the really old ones). But I don’t think I can wait that long as I only have 30 days to do due diligence. I then asked for an official letter stating that the park is legal and will remain legal as long as the septic systems are kept in good order. Should I cancel the deal because I cannot obtain the permits even though the officials keep saying the sewage system is legal as long as I maintain it? Thoughts?

Can the septic system be grandfathered too?

This is sort of a southern thing, but I always like to bullshit the bullshitters. Go down there and sit in the office of the Administrator for the Health Dept and make the request again. If you get the same answer have 100+ questions ready to go so you can “feel more comfortable” that the system is legal because 1) they don’t have any documentation; and 2) won’t sign anything for you.

Schedule the meeting at 11:00am so that it goes into the lunch hour (you eat beforehand obviously). You want them to have a reason to address your issue so they can get on to more important things. Have an affidavit of fact or equivalent document handy that is very simple so it’s easy for them to understand it and sign it.

And if all else fails submit a Freedom of Information Act request. You may still have to work with the Seller on an extension or to get them involved if all of this produced nothing.

I have other ideas but that’s the cheapest and easiest in my opinion.

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Thanks so much for this! Would the affidavit of fact suffice if they can’t find the permits?

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Your attorney should suggest the instrument and content to best cover your ass in this situation. I have used an Affidavit of Fact for various purposes such as mobile home titles and adverse possession issues, but not yet for septic systems…

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You are asking the question backwards. What risk are you facing? That the county will shut you down for operating illegally? If you’re having trouble with the field (in the future) you would have this risk anyway. That they’ll change their practice of not caring before then? Maybe a real risk.

What are the laws in your state? You must know this thicket and as part of your DD you need a lawyer who will research these things for you, or do it yourself.

You need to go down to the county and do DD via schmoozing as @jhutson suggests but I think the subject is, “what is the source of your authority and how is it implemented/regulated in practice”

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There are lots of septic systems out there that the county cant find permits for. 1 County lost the records really common. 2. System was installed prepermit days. 3. System was installed without any permits.

You will usually be allowed to continue operating an exsisting system if the following apply: 1. system was installed to standards current at time of install, 2 system applied for a permit, 3 the system is not currently failing.

Burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that the system is not failing, and possibly the other two as well.


To clarify for myself,

  1. are you looking for peace of mind it was properly permitted?
  2. are you concerned that its failing?
  3. will you kill the deal if you can’t get a permit?
  4. point of interest- make sure to ask them if there are variances and amounts of homes per septic system have changed (in case you can expand service/homes)

To me, I see what the others are saying, and I agree with their assessments of the situation, but also, listen to the city, they are telling you straight up what they are going to do.

Love this! Plus one.

You’re welcome. :slight_smile: