One of the best things about living in rural properties is having more space to yourself. Unfortunately, this also means you lose access to city services, which means you most likely have a septic system to handle your plumbing. If you plan on ever selling your home, you'll have to jump through an additional hoop to be able to clear your home for sale: a Title Five Inspection.
What Are Title Five Inspections?
Simply put, Title Five Septic Inspections are a full walk-through of your septic system, from the pump, to the piping, to the maintenance, to the expected longevity. It's required by Massachusetts state law every time any time the property undergoes a change in ownership, such as though home sales or home inheritance. It's also required if you're doing a structural update to the house, like adding a bathroom or an extra office space. If you plan on rezoning your structure from a residential to commercial space though, it's not necessarily required. As with any kind of legalities, it's best to check with your local municipality for verification.
Who Performs a Title Five Inspection?
Typically, these septic inspections are performed by your local septic company, but they must be completed by one that is licensed by the state. If your system fails the inspection for whatever reason, the septic company can also perform the repairs before submitting the paperwork to the state. Massachusetts also allows for "blind" assessments, which are confidential inspections that allow the homeowner to determine if their septic system passes before completing their Title Five Inspection.
What Is the Process Like?
Title Five Inspections are remarkably simple and usually involve little to no participation from the homeowner. A septic company will come out to your home or place of business and check the various parts of the septic system: tank, plumbing, leech field, distribution box, hydraulics, and other parts. If they detect any kind of damage or inefficiency in its operation, they'll give you a list of items to have worked on and may offer their own services to complete the work. The deadline for the repairs is around two years after the initial Title Five Septic Inspection.
Once everything has passed muster, they'll submit their findings to the board of health. If you fail the initial assessment, you'll have to resubmit the paperwork after the repairs have been performed so they can inspect it again. After you have your certificate in hand, you're free to move on with either the sale of the property or construction.