A hardworking couple have been left $23,000 out of pocket after a messy dispute resulting from a blocked septic tank.

The previous owner of Rae and Graham Johnstone's home refused to honour a Disputes Tribunal decision payment order.

The Johnstones bought their Himatangi Beach property in Manawatu from JK & L Trustee Company Ltd last year.

Tribunal referee Graham Rossiter said soon after they signed the sale and purchase agreement the tenants told JK & L there was a "blocked drain", reported Fairfax.

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The sellers were obligated to ensure any works had legal permits or consents, according to a Disputes Tribunal order.

JK & L company directors Alexander McLeod and Jacqueline Moen took some action but it didn't fix the problem, Rossiter said.

Rossiter found the best option was to connect the property to the Himatangi reticulation system, which would cost $23,000.

He ordered the company to pay the maximum allowable at the tribunal, $15,000. But the same day of the hearing JK & L was removed from the companies register.

The company was re-registered this month.

Johnstone said they were met with flooding when they moved in and were now left with the costs. They have received none of the $15,000 JK & L was ordered to pay. She told Fairfax they would go back to court to get the money.

"We have been left with having to fight for what is the law of the [Manawatu District] council. We have had to pay $23,500 to get connected."

Moen said the plumbing issue had been fixed and claimed her company was unable to pay the $15,000. She denies claims that there was sewage in the house.