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Vendor will not provide planning docs or indemnity for loft conversion

(34 Posts)
kali43 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:34:50

Should we be worried? Does this mean the work unlikely to have been done to an acceptable level? Should we get Planning Dept involved. work was done in 1992. So angry as they are also trying to delay completion date too even though that was a condition of offer. Why are some people such bastards! angry

PigletJohn Wed 15-Jul-15 15:07:37

you can probably search the local council website for Planning and Building Regulations.

However if they will not provide evidence that it was done legally, what do you seriously think the chances are?

A non-compliant conversion add negative value to a house because you have to allow for the cost of ripping it all out then doing it again properly.

What do you suppose people will think if you buy it and then later try top sell?

Don't stop looking for another home.

Spickle Wed 15-Jul-15 15:14:55

Have you had a full structural survey done? If so, any problems would have been brought to your attention regarding poor workmanship etc. As it is, I don't think planning permission or building control would be applicable after 23 years and the rules would have been different then to the rules now. In fact I believe loft conversions can now be done under permitted development. Perhaps go and view it once again to satisfy yourselves that it isn't about to fall down having lasted this long. To be honest I think the vendor probably feels that your solicitor/you are being picky and his solicitor will probably respond along the lines of "my client is not prepared to offer an indemnity due to the length of time since the conversion was constructed". You may wish to purchase your own indemnity policy of course.

GinandJag Wed 15-Jul-15 15:27:52

Can you look them up online? I know that our loft conversion documents are freely available on the borough website.

If the vendors are not supplying documents without good reason, I'd assume it was an unlawful conversion and therefore not a habitable room.

ooerrmissus Wed 15-Jul-15 15:34:36

I'd be very wary. Even if planning wasn't required if they haven't got the building regs signed off it could be a real bodge job. And if they've bodged that, what else have they done? We were in a similar situation with a house we bought some years ago. The loft conversion is still there but the lights that had been wired in using speaker wire had to go. As did the chimney lined with cardboard and the kitchen sockets that were actually extension cables that had been plastered over. The house was a death trap that cost us a bomb to put right.

clmustard Wed 15-Jul-15 15:41:48

from 1992 it would be immune from enforcement action under both planning abd building regs. Your only worry would be the structure itself so you can either take the risk that it is ok or you can get a surveyor to check it.

kali43 Wed 15-Jul-15 16:06:07

Have had a full survey and just spoken to surveyor whom has said the only other route is a structural engineer. It is advertised as 5 bed but if they don't have planning it can't be can it? Its 4 bed and a loft room, correct?

FurtherSupport Wed 15-Jul-15 16:23:32

Does the surveyor feel it meets building regs and that retrospective planning would be granted if necessary? They can usually advise.

Ultimately, you need to take the advice of your solicitor.

PigletJohn Wed 15-Jul-15 16:23:49

is there a fixed staircase to the loft?

Are there fire doors?

kali43 Wed 15-Jul-15 16:53:02

fixed staircase to loft, door at bottom of stairs to loft. No planning permission - just checked on planning portal. Surveyor didn't mention anything about retrospective planning other than unlikely that Planning going to come after us for a loft that is 23 yrs old.

SometimesItRains Wed 15-Jul-15 17:00:14

What does your solicitor advise? I would have thought that indemnity insurance should be available (at the buyer's cost), provided that no one has spoken to the council about the issue - if either you or they have spoken to the council then insurance probably won't be available.

kali43 Wed 15-Jul-15 17:04:26

buyer won't agree to sorting or paying for indemnity. why won't there be insurance if they have spoken to council? If we buy the house we will most definitely be putting in planning for an extension of some sort and possible modifications to the loft. Does that pose us problems too?

FanSpamTastic Wed 15-Jul-15 17:08:56

Reduce your offer to reflect fact that you are buying a 4 bed plus bonus room and buy the indemnity insurance yourself.

lalalonglegs Wed 15-Jul-15 17:35:41

You really don't need indemnity insurance. It has been there for almost a quarter of a century - unless the property is an exceptionally important historic building, no one is going to enforce now and, anyway, as others have pointed out, it is unlikely you would need consent to do the work now so why would they? Whatever the building regulations were in 1992, they will have been changed beyond recognition now so, even if it was built with certification then, it won't match today's standards, it will be very low on insulation, fire doors throughout house wouldn't have been required etc. Again, no one is going to enforce at this stage. The only thing you have to worry about is its structural integrity and, if after 23 years, it is still there, not cracking, sagging etc and a surveyor hasn't seen anything to worry about, I'd reckon it was good to go.

TeddyBee Wed 15-Jul-15 21:13:57

Ours was from the early 90s, we took the view it had to be fine by now, and it was a freezing/boiling death trap that was pushing the gable wall of our house out. Don't do it. The cost of taking it off was negligible but we did pay £35k to reconvert it, which we would have reflected in our offer when we bought had we known.

woodleydoodle Wed 15-Jul-15 23:54:01

Do you need the room to be a full-time bedroom?
If it was to be an office/bonus room, I think I'd reduce my offer.
If I actually needed it as a bedroom, I'm risk averse, so I think I'd walk away.

newstart15 Thu 16-Jul-15 10:16:12

After the length of time this is a building survey issue not planning.Completely agree with others, do you need this room?

A poorly converted loft maybe (by modern standards) uncomfortable to use on a regular basis. It may not have adequate insulation so it will be very cold in the winter.

What type of work will you do? As you may need to factor upgrading structural support which can be very disruptive as ceilings in lower room have to tak not down.If you like the house and plan to do work you could engage a strutural engineer to look at the work needed for your new extension aa well.I do think without building regs they are should lower the price or make some effort to get it resolved for you.

CrapBag Thu 16-Jul-15 11:31:49

We had to pay indemnity insurance of £20 for a boiler when we sold. Indemnity insurance isn't that much I don't think so sounds like he's being an arse and I'd be suspicious as to why.

Our house looked very nice. Turns out the previous owner was a bodger or got everything done on the cheap and it's costing us money to put right as we go through the rooms so don't take any chances.

Oh and it shouldn't be advertised as a bedroom, it is 4 bedrooms and a loft room. I've seen loads of these on right move and it is never described as a bedroom, always just a loft room which makes me think no planning permission. This would affect the value in would have though. You could be buying it as a 5 bedroom house but selling it as 4 bed plus loft room which would mean you couldn't sell it fro as much as you have paid.

Surely any other buyer is going to have the same problem and your vendor will keep getting this issue should you choose to pull out?

clmustard Thu 16-Jul-15 14:34:44

sorry to be pedantic but it really is a building control issue here rather than a planning one. Planning has no impact on if you can call it a bedroom or not.

HereIAm20 Fri 17-Jul-15 20:53:32

Building control can be enforced even after thst time believe me! We bought a flat and the solicitor failed to tell us that it did not have building regs. Converted in the 80s . We would have gotten the indemnity had we known buy apparently this relates to any fine rather than cost of works needed. The work requirements is purely at the discretion of the building control inspector and hd kept adding more things that weren't even required in the 80s but we were at his beck and call. On the plus side we were successful in claiming against our solicitor as they found out on search but failed to tell us. You wouldnt have that benefit and it was a very stressful time. I would avoid like the plague!!!

PiratePanda Fri 17-Jul-15 21:00:10

Loft conversions do not always have to have planning permission - see the government guidelines on "permitted development". In addition it was built more than 20 years ago, so it's not a planning issue anyway. You don't need indemnity insurance except if there might be a planning breach that could have enforcement action taken, and you're waaaaaaay outside that limit.

Frankly I think you're being unnecessarily paranoid. Either you want to buy the house or you don't. I would be doing exactly what your vendors are.

PiratePanda Fri 17-Jul-15 21:01:09

(They do, however, need to show you the building regs).

TheUnwillingNarcheska Sat 18-Jul-15 06:26:33

Pirate hardly paranoid if building regs can be enforced and they deem it not up to standard and it has to be ripped out.

If they then want to reinstate the loft conversion, then it is going to cost a lot of money.

Having had building regs change their mind over something half way through my extension, I know that you are at their mercy. You either do what they tell you or you won't get it signed off.

It always makes me wonder what else a vendor has done when they won't pay for planning/building regs. Hardly breaks the bank.

hereandtherex Sat 18-Jul-15 07:56:13

I'd probably walk. The situation smells of cheapskate/idiot.

One, they are claiming 5 bedrooms when its 4 + a dubious conversion.
Are they will to pay to get a structural engineer/building reg approval on the conversion. If they did not before then probably not know.

The price of place should be 4 bedrooms minus the cost of sorting the conversion out. Assuming the worse, thats 30k off the price.

Tanfastic Sat 18-Jul-15 07:58:23

I agree with spickle.

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