El Paso Cty Public Health Requires OWTS Inspection

Home Improvement

If you own a home in El Paso County and plan to sell, there is a required inspection you may need to know about. If your property includes an On-Site Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS), or septic tank, El Paso County Public Health (EPCHP) regulations require a timely inspection be completed prior to closing, with a County Acceptance Document of the inspection included as part of the Title transfer paperwork.

Effective since January 1, 2015, these inspections were put in place to help protect both sellers and buyers. The current owner of a property is responsible for having the inspection done. The County has a list of approved, independent contractors who are able to complete an OWTS inspection. The aim of these inspections is to confirm the system is working properly prior to the sale of a property. If there are issues discovered in the process, sellers and buyers are given an opportunity to determine how to proceed with repairs, including which party will be responsible.

As inspection results are only valid for 6 months, getting one done early is not recommended, as you may have to have one done again. Instead, if you have an OWTS on your property, I recommend including the information in the initial disclosures provided during the sale process. A passing inspection will result in an Acceptance Document which is provided by El Paso County Public Health, and to be included within the Title Transference documentation.

If an inspection fails, homeowners typically have 90 days to have any needed repairs completed. Should a serious issue be discovered, the EPCPH will determine the necessary timeframe for repairs to be done. As a seller, if you are dealt with a failing inspection, the sale of your property can still continue. The EPCPH will provide a Conditional Acceptance document so the sale can move forward. In certain cases, repairs may require a permit from El Paso County as well. If needed, proof of permits should also be included with your OWTS Inspection documents.  

If for some reason a seller is unable to take care of repairs, a buyer can take on the responsibility of the repairs after the sale has closed, so long as they are done within 90 days of occupying the property. For buyers putting an offer on properties with an OWTS, I recommend including within your buyer contingencies whether you are willing to take on possible repairs, and if so to adjust your purchase prices offer accordingly. Including such items within your contingencies will give you an extra layer of protection. 

There is a specific process to be followed when it comes to getting an OWTS inspection done. The best approach is to familiarize yourself with the process by reviewing the information on the EPCPH website, including a list of approved inspectors. Your Realtor® is also an ideal resource to ensure the process is completed properly, that reports are filed and documentation is received by the correct parties, including the Title Company handling your closing. While it is a seller’s responsibility in the end, having a supportive Realtor® who understands the Transfer of Title Inspection regulation, will make the transfer of property less stressful for you.

Whether you are buying or selling your home, connecting with a Realtor® who understands the community and local regulations, provides you with the ideal resource. This can make a big difference in how happy you are with the process, and the results. We at Springs LifeStyles Real Estate are here to help you with all your real estate needs! Call Kathy Stenberg at (719) 963-4867 or you can email her at springslifestyles@gmail.com You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.