Transfer of Title
Beginning January 1, 2019, most properties served by a septic system in Archuleta, La Plata, San Juan, and southwest Hinsdale Counties are required to undergo inspection prior to sale. This requirement helps identify failing and hazardous systems and protects property buyers from unforeseen repair obligations.
Septic System More Than 4 Years Old
If you are selling a property with a septic system that is more than four years old (as of the expected closing date), take the following steps:
- Before listing the property for sale, download a copy of your existing septic system permit. Check the approved use (including the permitted number of dwellings and bedrooms) and look for a final signature at the bottom or bottom-right of the permit (usually under "this system has been inspected and found to conform to the above requirements" or similar language). Permits were first required in 1967 and older homes may be served by unpermitted systems that still need inspection.
- If the system is properly permitted for the uses currently on site (as reported by the County Assessor), or appears to be older than 1967, have the system inspected by a third-party NAWT-certified inspector (see our Courtesy List of Local Inspectors (PDF)).
- If the system is not properly permitted for the uses on site, visit the "Permits" tab on this page to learn how to apply for a proper permit for the system.
- If the inspection cannot be completed prior to closing due to snow cover, frozen ground, etc., you may still legally sell the property if the buyers agree to have the inspection performed when conditions allow and to be responsible for all deficiencies identified. Use this form to Apply for a Conditional Transfer of Title Acceptance Document (PDF) (see submission instructions above) and attach a fully executed Buyer's Agreement to Inspect (PDF).
- If the inspection finds that your system is functioning acceptably, use this form to Apply for a Transfer of Title Acceptance Document (PDF) at least two weeks before your expected closing date (see submission instructions above) and attach a copy of the Inspection Report you receive from your inspector.
- If the inspection finds that your system is not functioning acceptably, visit the "Permits" tab on this page to determine if you need to apply for a repair or alteration permit, or only need to perform maintenance on the system.
- If you only need to perform maintenance not requiring a permit, have the identified maintenance performed by a qualified professional and submit documentation that the maintenance is complete along with your Application for a Transfer of Title Acceptance Document.
- If repairs or alterations cannot be completed prior to closing, you may still legally sell the property if the buyers agree to complete the necessary improvements. Use this form to apply for a Conditional Transfer of Title Acceptance Document (PDF) (see the submission instructions above), and attach a copy of your Inspection Report and a fully executed Buyers Agreement to Repair or Alter (PDF).
- Once you have applied for an Acceptance Document, pay the $90 administrative fee (see payment instructions above). This fee is nonrefundable. If you pay online, write "Transfer of Title" in the "Description" field and write the property address in the "Invoice number/Customer Name" field.
- It generally takes SJBPH about three business days to review an Application for a Transfer of Title Acceptance Document and either issue an Acceptance Document or request more information from the applicant. Acceptance Documents are issued by email to all email addresses provided on the application. Once the document is issued, take it to your closing or provide it to your title company.
Septic System Less Than 4 Years Old
If you are selling a property with a septic system that is less than four years old (as of the expected closing date), you may be exempt from the Transfer of Title Inspections Requirement. Use the green banner link above to download a copy of your existing permit. If the date of the final signature at the bottom right is less than four years old on the closing date, the system is exempt from additional inspections at time of sale.
- Be aware that some buyers' agents will add a requirement for a Transfer of Title Acceptance Document into real estate contracts, even if the property is exempt from the legal requirement to obtain one.
Transfer of Title Inspection Requirement
Certain types of transactions are exempt from the Transfer of Title Inspections Requirement:
- The transfer is not an arm's length transaction (for example, inheritance, including a spouse)
- The transfer is creating or ending joint ownership, with one original owner remaining on the title
- Creating trusts and LLCs in the same name as the original owner
- Note: sales of bank-owned and Public Trustee-owned properties are not exempt. In these cases, inspections may need to be ordered by the buyer.
Transfer of Title & Guidance Documents
- Transfer of Title Inspections: A Guide for Buyers and Sellers
- Application for a Transfer of Title Acceptance Document
- SJBPH Transfer of Title Inspection Form
- Buyers' Agreement to Repair or Alter an OWTS (attach this form to an application where identified repairs/alterations will not be completed before closing)
- Buyers' Agreement to Inspect an OWTS (attach this form to an application where an inspection could not be performed before closing)
- As a courtesy, SJBPH maintains an unofficial registry of local certified inspectors. This list is not official or comprehensive and you should verify that an inspector's certificate is current before contracting with them to do an inspection. There may be other certified inspectors on the NAWT website that do not appear on SJBPH's courtesy list.