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Gaaahhhh! I knew this was going to happen! No planning permission/building regs :(

(47 Posts)
AngryFeet Fri 01-Mar-13 10:41:23

Offered on our first house on 10th Jan. Finally got our mortgage offer on Tuesday and called the solicitors today to make sure they were ready. They said the searches have come back clear and they are waiting to receive their copy of the mortgage offer. DH and I have been a bit concerned that there might not be planning permission on 3 things - conservatory, small flat roof one storey extension to dining room and a loft room that has a dormer window (not an official room but has been boarded/carpeted etc but we were just planning to keep it as a loft as I doubt the joists have been strengthened). We were concerned as on the Property Info Pack the vendor had put question marks and 'ask council' next to the questions about building changes and building control issues but then he checked the box saying there weren't

Anyway the solicitor knew nothing about any of these extensions as they had not been disclosed! She said she is writing to his solicitor now. We just spoke to our estate agent who is very pissed off and is on his way to speak to the vendor to find out exactly what is going on.

So our choices are:-

1) Get him to get retrospective planning permission and building regs (unlikely to pass at todays standards I guess).

2) Hope they are older than 4 years and get indemnity insurance (solicitor says if they are older than 10 years we don't even need to bother with the insurance - is that right?). I would also be tempted to get him to pay for a full structural survey if that is the case. This is all based on whether he did 'call the council' as stated on his notes of course! Lets hope he didn't.

3) Reduce our offer significantly to get it sorted out ourselves.

4) Walk away.

It is a great house in a perfect location and nothing else on the market at the mo in our price range.

Our home buyers survey is due back today as well so will see what that brings up.

Arrrggghhh I am so pissed off - although not surprised at all as I had a feeling it would go wrong at this point.


southnorwoodmum Fri 01-Mar-13 20:34:50


AngryFeet Fri 01-Mar-13 21:04:00

Right so loft room no big deal as we wont use it as anything but a loft. Conservatory didnt need building regs as it is seperated by external wall and door. Planning permission would have been needed but being over 20 years ago there is no comeback but indemnity insurance will be paid for anyway. No planning permission needed on small extension due to size the only issue is no building regs.

Chances are we will extend downstairs and the conservatory will come down anyway and probably the small extension.

Dhs uncle says at this point over 20 years down the line we wont have an issue with any of it.

southnorwoodmum Fri 01-Mar-13 21:13:36

I may be wrong but by the sound of it it does not look major or damaging so I would probably go ahead (but do the structural survey)

AngryFeet Fri 01-Mar-13 21:21:05

We have spoken to a couple of structural engineers who have said they will happily come and look and charge £500 for the pleasure but since it has been there so long and there are no cracks etc there is little chance of there being anything wrong.

AngryFeet Fri 01-Mar-13 21:45:28

Anyone else? Really stuck as to what to do. DH says we should go ahead.

jaynebxl Sat 02-Mar-13 06:45:20

I'd go ahead if his uncle thinks it is ok and if you will probably get rid of the extension and rebuild anyway. In that case you would (presumably) get the building regs for your extension done properly and have no problem selling on.

Sparklegeek Sat 02-Mar-13 17:10:17

I am in a similar position to southnorwoodmum - my house (currently on market) has an old extension/conservatory (not sure what it would be classed as, on our searches when we moved in the plans show it being there in 1971 & it is drawn in as cross-hatch?) Anyway, we replaced the old rotten windows & door with double-glazing a few years ago, have FENSA certs but should we have got planning permission? (Rest of house is double-glazed).

DorisIsWaiting Sat 02-Mar-13 17:32:07

I would go ahead especially if you are planning an extension in the future. (You could even get the loft room up to spec when you do the extension).

Do IT!

Potterer Sat 02-Mar-13 17:41:43

It has clearly been up for a long time and shows no signs of cracks etc so I personally would still go for it.

I think £500 for a professional once over by a structural engineer is a bargain so why don't you ask the vendor to go halves?

We bought a house with non-Fensa fitted windows and we knew the vendors were lying about when they were fitted so we had indemnity insurance but to be truthful I wasn't bothered.

If the house ticks all the boxes and you still love it, buy it and make it your home.

PigletJohn Sat 02-Mar-13 19:14:57

It probably won't fall down, but don't value it as if it was a compliant extrension.

You have to assume that quality of build, insulation and electrical standards etc are poor. A house with proper work would be worth more.

AngryFeet Sat 02-Mar-13 19:40:45

Another house on that road the same size minus the extensions sold last year for the same price that we are paying. It did have slightly nicer decor but just a bit more modern. Kitchen and bathroom the same and flooring/carpets same just nicer wallpaper paintwork. Not sure if it is worth knocking money off at this stage as it is minimal difference.

PigletJohn Sat 02-Mar-13 19:55:27

well you should certainly knock money off the vendors asking price if he was fraudulently offering it for sale as approved building work.

AngryFeet Sat 02-Mar-13 22:07:53

We are not paying the asking price. To be honest I think he is just a bit away with the fairies, I dont think he was deliberatley concealing info. But I dont know for certain. How long would the mortgage take to redo if the value was decreased?

impecuniousmarmoset Sat 02-Mar-13 22:49:12

"they asked if I had the papers relating to some building work in 1958".

If my buyer's solicitors had asked a question like this, I'd have fallen off my chair. Have others seriously had questions about documentation for alterations going back 50 years when buying houses? I'm quite prepared to believe it happens - I've just never heard of it in any of my (fairly extensive) house-buying/selling experience.

PigletJohn Sat 02-Mar-13 23:46:20

My family had lived there for three generations, so if they'd all been hoarders, I might have had them.

Hardly relevant, though, since the house was later changed back to how it had originally been.

Pendeen Mon 04-Mar-13 00:53:58

Buying a property is always a gamble.

The vendor has not proved to be entirely honest. There are known problems with the house. As I said above, what else may be concealed.

The work does not comply and has obviously been done on an amateur basis.

You have doubts and, if or when you come to sell then your potential buyers will probably have doubts.

Do you really want that? Are you so set on buying this house? Can you accept the worry?

Then go ahead and buy but with your eyes wide open...

AngryFeet Mon 04-Mar-13 07:58:21

As I said upthread Pendeen we will be knocking down the things that might cause problems for selling the future. We will get a structural engineer to look over it anyway but our aim is to extend in 4 years anyway.

I think the house has actually been kept in good condition and I don't think there is any more chance of their being problems with this house than any other. I mean my parents house has an extension that is literally falling off the house but they just keep replastering and repainting the wall with the giant cracks. At least with this house there is no way in hell he has redecorated since about 1980 so nothing has been covered up.

perrinelli Mon 04-Mar-13 12:44:03

How's it going angryfeet, are you sticking with the property?

I've been reading with interest as we're in a similar situation with our prospective purchase though possibly slightly worse in some ways as we wouldn't plan to knock down the offending bits, on the other hand the vendors have not really tried to conceal anything or lie.

Issue 1 - There is a large kitchen extension c1986 with a flat roof which is suspended concrete. Above on the upper storey It was originally a covered terrace/loggia thing with a proper roof but at some point they filled in the walls and put in a lot of windows so its mostly enclosed with a small balcony. It's not insulated & they call it a 'sun room'. Surveyor said no sign of movement or cracking but concerned if the concrete floor can take the weight.

Issue 2- smallish sort of sun room/conservatory 2009, flat roof and made a sun terrace on top and have laid STONE paving on top!! Surveyor v concerned it can't take the weight.

Issue 3 - loft room, joists not reinforced or anything.

No planning permission or building regs for any of it. Wondering if we should run a mile, or whether its still ok at the right price. Not much else on the market now and we have buyers ready to go.

Pendeen Mon 04-Mar-13 14:23:36

perrinelli - re your queries, may be of interest to see my comments at 1.3.13 @11.34 relating to what might be the result of buying a property with unapproved work...

As many have said, there are many alternatives and lots of suggestions on here however knowing what can and often does happen means you are in a stronger position when negotiating and decisions are made with the full knowledge of the risks.

AngryFeet Mon 04-Mar-13 18:35:33

We have decided to go ahead perrinelli. Yours sounds more concerning though with the surveyors comments. Did you get a structural survey?

racmun Mon 04-Mar-13 18:54:47

I'm a property lawyer and sympathise. I'll give you the advice I'd give my clients

A couple of years ago, indemnity insurance was flying around everywhere and seen as a quick fix, which it isn't.

Planning issues will go away after the effluxion of time but building regulations will continue to be an issue.

There is a misguided notion that if it's been there for 12 months it's ok. It's not it just means the local authority can't automatically take enforcement action against you for not get building regs. They can however take action if the building is unsafe.

Now to your survey, what type of survey did you have?
I don't think a full structural survey will actually help and they will prob advise you to refer to a structural engineer on anything they're not sure about so your first port of call should be to get quotes from a structural engineer.

Then it comes to your mortgage- issues such as this seriously affect value and therefore your solicitor must report it to them. Eg a 2 bed is worth a lot less than a 3 bed. If you solicitor doesn't do this they risk bring sued my mortgage co- happy times......

Also let's say you get it through this time, you may want to sell in the future and it I'd likely the same problems will arise then.

I personally would insist on retrospective consent if they can't get it i personally would walk away and breathe a sigh of relief..... £2k wasted is better buying a problem house.

Indemnity insurance is on my opinion ok on something like a window without a FESNSA cert but anything structural would be a no go.

perrinelli Mon 04-Mar-13 19:29:41

Thanks for the useful advice and opinions. We've had a full building survey (structural one). Not had report yet but had a phone chat with the surveyor today. He has recommended for one part (but with the roof terrace paved in stone) that we get the roof opened up to see the construction. He had lots of questions about the 1980s extension with 'sun room' above but no obvious signs of movement.

My feeling is that the owners haven't tried to conceal things but have just been a but foolish & generally seemed to take the attitude they could do whatever they liked with their house.

Surveyor seemed to think indemnity might be an option but that it would involve the mortgage company sending someone out to say if its suitable for indemnity.

I'm starting to feel that it could be a problem house that's hard to shift.

I'm also concerned that if we wanted to do anything in future/do any remedial works we might feel we couldn't because of fearing action from the planning dep/building regs people on otter bits of the house.

I don't think getting retrospective is an option really, not at all sure they would get it granted.

It's a very special plot with a fair bit of land (woodland on a slope) and beautiful view. That's what's got us this far and what's stopping us from running away straight away!

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