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Loft conversion, no planning permission, repucussions?

(28 Posts)
ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 20:56:30

I have seen a flat I wish to view. it has a loft conversion however it states in the particulars that there is no planning permission. the only works to the outside are two smallish velux windows. inside the loft is a landing used as a study, a bathroom, and a playroom (that cant be detailed as a bedroom).

Is it buyable? wpuld I be an idiot to buy a flat with a converted loft and no planning permission?

thebigfoo Fri 18-Jul-14 21:08:10

I would tread very, very carefully here.

For one, duff house renovations void your house insurance. Imagine a house fire followed by NO payout.

Wildidle Fri 18-Jul-14 21:09:16

Can you find out when the works were carried out? If it's over 4 years then it's immune from enforcement.

Homebird8 Fri 18-Jul-14 21:09:20

If it doesn't change the exterior except for velux type windows it probably doesn't need planning permission. It may however need building consent to make sure the beams are strong enough for use, and if it is to be used for habitation rather than storage it will need the fire regs complied with. People do use such spaces for all sorts of things but it definitely can't be a bedroom without the building consent and you may not be able to have a door on it.

If you are prepared to treat it as accessible storage space (that gets played in) then you shouldn't have too much difficulty. However, the building consent is there to keep you safe so your solicitor may advise differently. Perhaps you could negotiate the price down to cover consent work?

BridgettRousselot Fri 18-Jul-14 21:10:56

I think there is something you can apply to the LA for, called something like a comfort document, which means they will not prosecute you.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:11:25

this is it I might be wrong but it looks a lot newer than if ot were done more than four years ago.

Wildidle Fri 18-Jul-14 21:14:45

It needs permission, flats don't have permitted development rights like houses do. You could apply for a certificate of lawfulness, but to get it you'd have to be able to prove it's been there for four years. If you can't do that, I'd steer clear.

BridgettRousselot Fri 18-Jul-14 21:15:07

It is described as two bedrooms, and the bathroom is in the loft, can you convert the utility to a shower room?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:16:40

I dont mind the bathroom being in the loft though.....would I be expected to move it?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:17:05

there is also another room in the loft - you can see it on the floorplan.

BridgettRousselot Fri 18-Jul-14 21:18:38

It is being marketed as two bedrooms, not three, and if there is a problem your only bathroom is in the loft, could you convert the utility?

apermanentheadache Fri 18-Jul-14 21:20:11

If they are selling it for the same price as a flat with a proper extra bedroom, then a definite 'no'.

I'd be wary about things like: how would fire spread be prevented? Is it structurally sound? And like s PP said, would your insurance hold up?

There aren't many reasons for not going through planning and building regs, aside from doing things on the cheap and knowing permission/ building regs would be refused. You've got to wonder why they did itbon the sly...

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:21:33

yes thats a good question. why not do it properly? is that something the EA would know

marmitelover Fri 18-Jul-14 21:23:07

As someone above says, flats don't have permitted development rights so tread carefully. I would be concerned about the potential quality of the work done if no planning permission was obtained as there will be no building control sign off either (which confirms it complies to safety regs - albeit fairly picky ones). And as someone else says, any damage and your insurance company are likely to refuse to pay out. Is it freehold or leasehold? If the latter, you could face difficulties with the freeholder too if they don't know about the work.

Daddypigsgusset Fri 18-Jul-14 21:24:25

I have no idea about the legalities but I really like that flat

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:27:02

isnt it gorgeous! I am being lured in by the decor and finish and dont want to end up buying something unsafe.

apermanentheadache Fri 18-Jul-14 21:29:09

You could ask them to get an indemnity BUT they won't be able to do this if the local authority is already aware there is an alteration to the flat that's been done without planning / building regs.

Baths filled with water are heavy. I'd be concerned they hadn't reinforced the floor sufficiently. Coukd be a bodge-job of just floor joists with boards on top - eek.

zoobaby Fri 18-Jul-14 21:29:44

So as a conversion, does it come with freehold? Or is the loft mentioned in the leasehold? Unless it's specifically stated in the deeds then it is not owned by the top floor. If it is specifically mentioned then you own the roof space and are responsible for all repairs. If not.mentioned then it is not owned and not permitted. The freeholder can tell you to put it back how it was. Assuming the asking price is higher due to the additional space, then the resale value drops. Proceed carefully.

apermanentheadache Fri 18-Jul-14 21:32:18

Do not trust the agent to tell you why they didn't do it properly. They are working for the vendor.

Your solicitor will not allow you to proceed if s/he is any good without the issue being sorted in any case.

Are you wanting a mortgage on it?

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:32:27

I live in a terraced flat currently. In our area they are ten a penny. The rules are that ground floor flat is responsible for the drainage and top floor responsible for the roofing.

its a sort of "peppercorn rent" arrangement whereby grou d floor own the lease of above and above own the lease of below.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 18-Jul-14 21:32:51

Yes we will need a mortgage on it.

apermanentheadache Fri 18-Jul-14 21:33:09

Zoobaby that is a really good point.

Bafta Fri 18-Jul-14 21:34:30

Dunno about planning permission but I would want any property I bought with a loft conversion to have building regs approval to at least know any work done is structurally sound

apermanentheadache Fri 18-Jul-14 21:34:44

I think I would walk away tbh. Priced accordingly for a reason because it will be loooooads of hassle

wanttosinglikemarycoughlan Fri 18-Jul-14 21:38:48

We have a loft conversion with planning permission. Our neighbours did the same but without pp
They have just sold. They were not allowed to call the loft a bedroom, it had to be a hobbies room
We know ours is structurally sound though
You should find that out via survey shouldn't you?

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