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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-11-2010, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Hi everyone

We have a similar situation purchasing an ex-council 3-bedroom mid-terrace sold to the tenant in 1982.


The vendors claimed that in the 1980s, the wall dividing the lounge and dining room was torn down to create a through-lounge.

The vendors replied to us that "No building regulations approval was needed or known to have been requested. Given the 25-30 years of time, the property has not shown distress."


The building surveyor refused to comment on whether an RSJ beam is really in-place and on its integrity to support the formerly torn-down wall.

The 1st floor has 3 bedrooms bedrooms and a toilet + insulated roof (2nd floor).

Any advice on this? Or will we purchase on 'face value' of its structural integrity (see attachment) ?

P.S. i'm not sure, but...
A certificate of regularisation might not be possible, as the vendors claim that the work may have been done before 11th Nov 1985.

-Tedz
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 11-11-2010, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

I don't think you can get a "certificate of regularisation", or retrospective consent, under the Building Regulations simply as a result of the passage of time, unlike planning permission. If an application for retrospective consent is made, the council will want to be sdatisfied that current Building Regulations were complied with, which is extremely unlikely

In view of your surveyor's attitude, I suggest you walk away. If you buy, you will do so entirely at your own risk
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 14-01-2011, 07:22 PM
nix nix is offline
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Exclamation Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Are building regs required for changing a bedroom into a bathroom - no structural changes just plumbing added. If so as buying a property where this is the case, how do I get indemnity insurance?
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Old 16-01-2011, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

In a nutshell, yes, part H of the Building Regulations (drainage and waste disposal) will apply, so Building Regulations consent should have been obtained. Your conveyancer should be able to arrange indemnity insurance if this is appropriate
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 04-02-2011, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Can anyone help. We purchased our house in 2006 which had already had an extension built. we have currently sold the house and the new buyers solicitor are asking for paperwork and planning permission info with regards to the extension. we dont have this and were never given it when we purchased the house. Should this of been given to us, should our initial solictor of asked for this when we were buying and where do we stand now?we fear we may lose sale
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 06-02-2011, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

When was the extension built? If more than 10 years ago, any breach of planning control is now unenforceable, though the buyer's solicitors may insist on you paying for an indemnity insurance policy.

Any breach of the Building Regulations is almost certainly unenforceable, but the buyer's solicitors will almost certainly insist on an indemnity policy; if there is to be an indemnity policy for breach of planning control, an indemnity in respect of breach of Building Regulations can usually be added for no extra premium
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This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 16-02-2011, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Richard - I'd really really appreciate your advice

I am about to exchange contracts on a 3 bed house in herefordshire, the property is about 100 years old and has been extended - loft conversion being used as 3rd bedroom, and single story extension to the rear comprising Kitchen, utility, downstairs bathroom.

The current owners have only been there 18 months and have no paperwork for the building work (no planning or building regs) my solicitors search show there is are no records back to 1994. I know the people who owned it before the current owners for eight years and they did not undertake the work either - so it was done at least ten years ago. They said any paperwork would have been handed over.

The survey undertaken by my lenders did not reveal any structiral defects and did not mention building regs concerns (other than to ask solicitor to obtain copies) I have spoken to the surveyor directly and he had no concerns to note.

The vendors have offered an indemnity policy for lack of building regs but I am concerned it will be a problem when I come to sell.

I'm also concerned re council enforcement - despite the fact its been standing a while now - and for the potential of defects to arrise.

what is your advice ? at such a late stage if I pull out I will loose quite a bit of money but am prepared to do so if necessary.

I expect the vendors would rather re-market it than get retrospective building regs

Be really grateful for any advice .. cheers
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 16-02-2011, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Your solicitor would be wise to tell your lender about the position i.e. work at least 10 years old and surveyor did not comment on any visible issues. The lender might require an indemnity policy but these policies are only really there to protect stupid lenders who don't understand what they do. They only pay out if enforcement action is taken , not if there is some damage to the structure etc caused by a failure to comply with the regulations.

If the Council took action now then you ring up the Daily Mail etc and ask them to come down and investigate why [name of council] Council has nothing better to do than worry about 10 year old work. So Council wouldn't dare take action as they would be made to look stupid in the national media - "X Council wastes staff time on unnecessary enforcement in a time of spending cuts...."

My daughter has a 100 year old terrace house with a steep narrow stair to a bedroom in the loft which has probably always been there - I can't imagine it meets modern fire safety standards - but nobody seems to complain about that. That's the kind of background context people need to look at.

I assume there is a proper staircase rather than a retractable loft ladder - is that right?

Unfortunately it is an issue that may come up again when you sell because there are a few buyers out there who are amazingly risk averse and when their solicitor mentions an issue (as he must) they get all worried about incredibly minor points.

However, if people use their common sense, as the years go on without actual problems arising it is going to be more and more not a problem if you want to sell.
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As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-2011, 10:16 AM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

My house is currently on the market & I have a potential buyer. It is an 1860's property & had a flat roof extension at some point in its history (I don't think there are any plans for this but think it is too long ago for this to have caused us any problems when we purchased the property in 2001).
We had a conservatory fitted 5 yrs ago & applied for planning permission which was granted. We didn't apply for building regs as I believe these do not usually apply to conservatories. However, we now use the conservatory as the only access to the kitchen from the rest of the house ie the front door leads into the living room & there was previously a door from the living room which led to the kitchen. We have now blocked this door up & only use the door from the living room to the conservatory. We then removed the door from the conservatory to the kitchen so we now effectively have 2 rooms on the ground floor - living room & kitchen/breakfast room. This would probably have required building regs which we did not apply for. Will this be picked up by the buyer's solicitor & if so what action will we be required to take? We would probably be able to return to the original plan but this will not be simple. Sorry it is a bit complicated so let me know if you need me to clarify anything!
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2011, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: Buying a house with no Planning Permission or Building regs for extension

Three years ago we bought a flat inside a converted house. At the time of purchase oursolicitor didnít notice or point out that it didnít have planning permission or building regulation approval. Weíre getting a certificate of lawful use sorted, but weíre stuck on building regs. Months ago I wrote to the council to ask what i needed to do to get retrospective building regs. They never replied. Now Iíve found out that there wasnít really any need to bother, I could have just got an indemnity policy. But now everyone says I canít get the indemnity policy because I notified the council! My solicitors are being totally unhelpful and wonít pay for us to get the retrospective building reg approval, and I donít want to commit to this route myself as if they want lots of work done it could cost thousands of pounds that I donít have.
We want to start a familiy very soon and need to sell the flat to move somewhere bigger. Given that the conversion took place about 5 years ago, and the council has taken no action on my letter asking about building regs (or even responded to it!), is there anybody out there who would give us an indemnity policy?
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