In my experience there’s one thing about a property which many, if not most, property investors and buy to let purchasers rarely think about, and rarely check.
But this one thing could cost thousands of pounds to rectify if there is a problem.
And by the way, if you are wondering, a valuer doing a mortgage valuation will rarely check as well, although a surveyor doing a structural survey will, if they can; in other words, if there is reasonable access and opportunity to check.
What am I referring to?
We just take it for granted that drains are working or, put more correctly, flowing freely, until they aren’t.
If it’s just a simple blockage, that can be easy enough to resolve by a bit of ‘rodding through’, although if there are no accessible manholes close to a blockage, there can be real problems.
Sometimes, it’s not as simple as a blockage.
The drains can collapse.
Manhole chambers can collapse.
Tree roots can crack drains and push through and block the drainage channel. I had this problem at my home and the roots had to be cut back and the ceramic drains lined with plastic to help maintain their integrity and stability.
If a drainage channel collapses, it can cost thousands of pounds to rectify, especially if you aren’t sure where in the drain run the collapse has occurred. You might have to excavate and expose the whole drainage run. If the drain is at depth this can be a big, big job.
And there’s no point hoping the local water company will come and do it for you for free. If the drains are on your land, then the work and the cost is down to you.
In this short video I had a bit of a “scare” as it it seemed possible a blocked drain was causing seepage into a basement.
Whether this is the case or not, I’m not sure. The local water company didn’t seem convinced but since the drains were cleared, the damp in the basement is noticeably less. Is this just a coincidence? Maybe. Only time will tell.
And I noticed the gully in the street was blocked. In time, if it’s not cleared, there’s a danger of surface water running into the basement during heavy rain. Unfortunately, the local water company can do nothing about the street gully, that’s down to “highways”, so I hope highways get around to it soon (they have been told).
Anyway, as I say, drains are something most of us take for granted and rarely check before buying a property.
But if we buy enough properties, the chances are, at some time, we will have a drainage problem.
Let’s hope it doesn’t cost too much to sort out.
Here’s to Successful Property Investing.
(ex) Chartered Surveyor, author and property investor
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