Passed Title V, Title V In Hand


A passed Title V means that the septic system has been recently inspected by a licensed septic inspector, and that the inspection indicated that the system has passed current standards, which are set by the state.

Title V is important - unless you're an

outdoors lover.

You should take the time to review the inspection, understand the system in place (they aren't all the same),  and evaluate it, using local experts where necessary. Local experts might include the local board of health, and other septic inspectors.  Not just anyone can do a septic inspection, you need to be licensed by the state, and the inspectors (generally) need approval from the local town as well. Who did the inspection is noted in the report, along with their license #, which is available on-line at in the licenses section.  If you are unfamiliar with a Title V report, it is a good idea to talk to someone who is - not everyone is well versed in the language of septic!

The Importance of Title V

You wouldn't buy a house without knowing if the roof is in good shape or not, and a septic system works the same way. Unlike a roof though,  you can't "see" it, and I think it's this unknown quality of septic that gives buyers pause. It's an important - and expensive - system for you house, so you should carefully evaluate it.  Evaluating a septic system is not necessarily straightforward either - "old" is not necessarily "bad" and "new"  is not necessarily "good", although I have found that some people are quick to race to those determinations.

 Age is important though, but there are several other questions to ask.  Is there a back up leach field?  Did the primary field fail and when?  Are there pump records available?

Failed Title V

Should a home "fail" a Title V inspection, it is usually the seller's responsibility to replace the system. This is true even if the purchase contract was completed (with out language to the contrary) before the inspection was performed. (Note to Sellers: Get your inspection done before you list!!!).

It has become customary for sellers to be responsible for Title V for a simple reason; most banks won't lend on a property with a failed system. So when we see "seller responsibility" what it really means is "hard to borrow money against". As you can imagine, that significantly reduces the number of people who can purchase the property, so I often find that properties without a Title V can sell for 30-50K below the value they would if they had a functioning system. Most people who purchase have done a septic replacement before, and understand the in and outs, and that's a good thing - the process, while not overly complicated, is confusing to newbies, and is time consuming, expensive, and often involves a great deal of red tape. If you are looking for a good way to build equity, a septic replacement can be that way, just recognize that it will require solid financial backing on your part. 


If you're thinking of purchasing a home with a failed Title V, make sure to read this post.


Looking for information on how to keep your septic system ship shape?  I have more information in this article on Keeping Your Septic Running Smoothly.



Finding Professionals to Get a Title V, or to Service your Septic System

If you're looking for a professional to help you get your Title V report in Metrowest, we can put you in touch with reliable companies with sterling reputations in your area.  Please contact me for details at!  Two recommendations here though.


Northborough Septic


Lakeside Sewerage (Marlborough)


We often have coupons for Title V inspections - we run out fast, but shoot us an e-mail if you'd like to save a little $$.