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Any experience buying a house with no planning permission on an annex?

(21 Posts)
jammybean Mon 15-Oct-12 11:07:56

We've reached a stale mate with the vendors who have been less than honest. And things are likely to get more complicated. Made an offer 7 weeks ago on a 300 yr old cottage which has had a sizeable extension and an annex added. After a little investigation online it seems that the vendors were refused planning twice for the annex. When forced on the issued they claimed that they had simply completed works done by the previous owners and were unaware that planning was needed. Now were sure its the current owners who made the current changes because we called the agents who marketed & sold the house back in 2010 and they confirmed our suspicions.

The vendors want to apply for retrospective planning which if I understand correctly means we will be unable to get an indemnity insurance on the property. Worst case senario, the council are alerted to the extension and the vendors are forced to remove the annex.

Also other 3 bed cottages in the area sell for up to 90k less than we've offered. Would it be reasonable to expect a significant reduction in the asking price and for the vendor to pay the indemnity? Or should we let them re-apply with a great chance that they'll be rejected again? (Its in a conservation area and they probably deemed it an overdevelopment of the site.) And how long does it take to make/ review a planning application?

Were not in a chain so in no great hurry to move but obviously we've now invested in this house, we'd quite like to see it through. Any advice appreciated!

FireOverBabylon Mon 15-Oct-12 11:19:36

Run like hell! If it's 300 years old, they're not likely to get approval for the annex, especially if it's been turned down before.

withdraw your offer and say that you're happy to consider your position again once they can prove that they have planning approval for the annex. i really wouldn't get involved with this if they've rode roughshod over the views of the council.

mummytime Mon 15-Oct-12 11:38:26

Go and look for a new property. Your solicitor should be advising this.
Don't spend any more money doing anything.

If they only bought the property in 2010 then the council may well come along and demand the extension is torn down. If they behave in such a cavialer way to the planning system it is also likely that the build is not done properly.

Durab Mon 15-Oct-12 11:43:00

We made an offer on a modern house that had a fairly straightforward extension added without planning. Our solicitor spotted that there was no planning and the vendors applied for and got the planning permission before we exchanged contracts.

It did delay things as bit, but as you say, you're in no rush. The council should be able to tell you how long it will take to reach a decision, ours say 6-8 weeks, but maybe longer in a conservation area I suppose. If the vendors can't or won't get the retrospective permission then you'll have to walk away.

What does your solicitor say?

jammybean Mon 15-Oct-12 12:40:10

You're all saying exactly what i was thinking... We're seriously considering pulling out, its the best house we've seen in the past 5 months. We've spent quite a bit so far, which we don't want to lose. We've given the vendors until 12pm on Friday to get back to us with a decent proposal on how best to go forward.

Durab he says getting an indemnity is the best bet, however we'll probably have issues with selling it at a later date. Its highly unlikely they will be granted planning..but theres not much we can do if thats the route they want to take.

noddyholder Mon 15-Oct-12 12:41:22

I would insist on some form of 'proof' on a property that age. Anyone who was careful about a renovation wouldn't dream of doing that level of work to such an old building without advice.

jammybean Mon 15-Oct-12 13:01:04

The thing is whoever did the work look like they got planning for extending the kitchen and adding a bedroom downstairs but they didn't follow the original plans which were approved. Its only really the annex that got a categorical NO... all this is such a mess. There was me thinking we would be in by christmas!

I'm just so annoyed that there are people out there who would market/sell a property in the knowledge that not everything is above board. The vendors even had the bloody cheek to decline our first offer!! [anrgy]

noddyholder Mon 15-Oct-12 13:23:16

Is it structurally sound? If it is an indemnity will prevent the council being able to take action but will have no effect on the build itself.I have bought several houses with no planning and its been fine. After a certain number of years the council can't enforce it. It sounds reading again like they just contravened permission but maybe the quality is ok?

FireOverBabylon Mon 15-Oct-12 15:59:21

Noddy the indemnity won't prevent the council taking action, only prevent you being forced to pay out if sued by the council. They could still enforce the annex be knocked down.

Pendeen Mon 15-Oct-12 16:03:57

Three hundred years old; it is virtually certain that the property is listed.

Obtaining retrospective planning consent is nothing compared with the nightmare of Listed Building Consent.

And then there's Building Regulation approval...

Forget the whloe idea!

upinthehills Mon 15-Oct-12 16:11:06

To hell with planning - what about building control warrants and sign off - without those how can you be sure the walls will still be standing next week! Are you planning on buying with a mortgage? If so that is another can of worms.

MainlyMaynie Mon 15-Oct-12 16:11:42

Walk away. It's in a conservation area, it's 300 years old, it's likely to be listed. The vendors' plan is to draw the council's attention to an extension they've already refused permission for. Why would you want a house when the council could ask you to knock part of it down?

noddyholder Mon 15-Oct-12 16:14:53

Is it listed?

jammybean Mon 15-Oct-12 19:39:41

Thanks for all the responses. Were on the verge of getting surveys done but were very reluctant on spending anymore on the sale till this issue is resolved. Yes it's grade 2 listed. We're in a bit of a dilemma Mainly if the council do ask the vendors to knock it down, then the cottage really isn't big enough.

Sausagedog27 Mon 15-Oct-12 22:16:07

Eeeeeek, if it's listed the works that they did without permission is actually a criminal offence and if you go ahead with the works you will take on liability for those works- the council at worst could prosecute you, or make you undo all the unauthorised works. Tread very carefully here- if you love the house you should be asking for a significant reduction. Also does your surveyor know? It's likely to affect the valuation. You might be in a strong position to negotiate as any new purchases will have the same issue.

What is it exactly that they have done- is it an extension or have they converted outbuildings?

Sausagedog27 Mon 15-Oct-12 22:16:36

Sorry about my very poor grammar as well!

MainlyMaynie Tue 16-Oct-12 08:52:41

If you haven't paid for the survey yet, then the amount you've spent is minimal. These planning the issues can drag on for years, but I'd expect the eventual outcome here is that they'll have to remove the annex. They went ahead and built it after planning permission had been rejected and without listed building consent. So you'll have a load of hassle and then a house that's too small.

I'd let the owners go ahead with their (ridiculous) plan to apply for retrospective planning permission and keep looking for a house while they do. If by some miracle they get the permission you can always go back to this house.

Pendeen Tue 16-Oct-12 09:52:05

All questions answered then:-

"After a little investigation online it seems that the vendors were refused planning twice for the annex."

"Yes it's grade 2 listed. "

Speaking as an architect involved on a daily basis with listed buildings, it sounds highly unlikely consent would ever be granted for the current extension!

Your best course of action would be to forget the cottage and find somewhere else.

jammybean Tue 16-Oct-12 10:17:45

Well they went to the council yesterday morning against our advice. They've instructed a planning consultant not that it's going to make much difference. We've only spent £500 but the idea of spending another 6-8 months house hunting fills me with dread. We're going to rent for a while and hope for the best whilst keeping an eye out for something else.

sausage they've extended the back/side of the house to include a large kitchen dinning room, a family bathroom and a third bedroom. The garage has been rebuilt to include a first floor annex with an ensuite and downstairs living space.

Sausagedog27 Tue 16-Oct-12 22:26:33

Wow- that's a lot of work to a listed house with no permission. I think you do right in renting for a while- in a few months I bet you will be relieved, it sounds as if it could be a messy one for them. Hope you are ok op.

annh Wed 17-Oct-12 00:44:25

Losing £500 at this stage is nothing, compared to the grief you will have further down the line with this house. Do not even think about walking away, RUN, run now!

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