I have a question about a septic tank issue, and I need to give some background first.
I own a house here in NW Connemara, bought in 2000 from a man who turned out to be a well known bully, wife/child-beater, fraud, liar...truly; this isn't merely my assessment of him. He's an ex-soldier, loves representing himself in court, goes to law or threatens to when it suits him, has assaulted several people (including me and my partner, upon which he claimed, wrongly, that it was we, two women, who had assaulted HIM, and the cases were dismissed)...
In 2005, a cottage adjoining our back garden, also owned by this guy, was put on the market (I still had an OK relationship with him then, and kind of didn't mistrust his word, though I knew by then that he wasn't a nice guy). It had actually been built by him as a shed/barn, but in fact was built as a residence, back around about 1985, and used as such (as a rented out holiday home) by him. Because of its proximity, and wanting not to have either long term tenants of his or buyers who would be downright bad neighbours, I bought that cottage. At the same time, I bought a strip of land about 50m long ending in a rectangle, in a field belonging to this man, where he said the septic tank and pipe was underneath - he told me that because there were cattle there, there was no visible evidence of it; and since I didn't think he would vicariously sell me a strip of land and a rectangle in the middle of a field, I had no reason to disbelieve him. And the discharge from the cottage did go somewhere...
I now have a long term tenant - a woman - in the cottage, and it's registered with the PRTB, the tenant gets rent allowance, etc - all legal. Last year, we made an appointment with the Galway Co Co, and met with them, saying that we don't like having an illegal property, and we were sure they didn't either. We wondered if we could apply for retention. They said "no", we shouldn't do that, as if we did, the application could be refused and then we might be required to take the building down. They were very friendly, and theiur suggestion, which we followed, was to do nothing - as they said, there's nothing at all they can do about it's being there as a residence, and "good luck".
Now to the point of all this. It turns out that the cottage DOES have a septic tank (and sewer pipe) in the nasty man's field, but not underneath the strip/rectangle which he sold us.
The strip plus rectangle isn't marked out, and we're about to have it surveyed by an engineer, as we know we need at SOME time to do so in order that he not be able to claim rights over it.
Here is the question: what rights, if any, do we have in respect of this tank which isn't where the seller said it was? Can he cut it off from us at any time? Can we keep it where it is? Can we have access to maintain it? (BTW, we HAVE registered a septic tank for the cottage, for septic tank inspection purposes).
In the title deeds to the cottage (bought by us in '05), the requisitions on title ask about septic tank, to which the answer is "The buyer is aware". I didn't know that till I looked last year.
Unbeknown to the nasty man, we have actually diverted the discharge from the cottage to our own house's septic tank, and it works fine, but it does mean that the two properties are now conjoined in a way that I don't want in the long term. But at least it protects us/our tenant in case he does anything precipitous.
So...what rights, if any, do we have in this case? What can/should we do? We don't have that much money for an expensive court case.
This guy has also harrassed us in other ways. For example, he tried to claim that he owned part of the cottage back garden, even though the land map is registered with the Land Registry people, and even though he himself built the boundary walls exactly where we had agreed the boundaries. He also erected a 'spite gate' (which has no purpose but to harass us, and in fact doesn't even function as a gate), at a time when he sent us a bill for 'work' which we hadn't commissioned, and we refused to pay him.
This is a nasty piece of work, and it's clear that he deliberately defrauded us over the location of the tank and pipe for the cottage. Maybe the answer is "caveat emptor" and "wasn't I stupid?". But at the time I tended to try to trust people.
A definitive answer would be much appreciated.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law