Buying a house - Confused about indemnity insurance/possible structural issues(4 Posts)
Hi, I'm buying a house which has had an internal wall removed, and there is also an extension (kitchen). It's not clear whether these were done according to regulations as they were done before the seller bought the house. In the queries our solicitors raised with the seller's solicitors, our solicitors are requesting that the sellers take out indemnity insurance for both the internal wall removal and kitchen extension.
Is this common? (I expect it is in period homes which have undergone renovations over the years?) I'm wondering whether the indemnity insurance will be "enough" - surely we'll just be in the same position when we try to sell the house? Is it common to get a structural engineer around & get approval retrospectively? If we do have a structural engineer come out, who should pay for this, the seller or the buyer?
Also, there might be an issue with the roof - The roof purlins might need reinforcing (this came up in the survey). I want to get the opinion & a quote from a structural engineer to see how urgent this work is and how much it would cost. If it's a lot of money we'll probably renegotiate our offer. Should we discuss getting the structural engineer out in advance, with the seller? I'm worried that if we arrange for someone to give us a quote, that the seller might not accept this quote. And who should be paying for this structural engineer to come out? The buyer or the seller?
Hope someone will be able to help me, am feeling quite confused/overwhelmed!
It's very usual to get indemnity insurance but you have to be sure that it's the right course of action for you - ie, you have to accept that there might be an issue with the house which will probably take time and cause inconvenience to correct if it does go wrong. The question I would ask myself is roughly when the work was done - if it was, say, 20 years or more ago and it all seems to have withstood the passing of time, then it wouldn't worry me too much. If it was 18 months ago, I'd be more concerned as there was still a chance things could go wrong and also because getting building certification - or certainly asking for it when buying and selling - seemed much more optional back in the day.
Getting retrospective building regs certification is difficult because, even if the work was done to the then current standards, regulations have changed a great deal over the past few years and building control teams will only certify to the standards in force now so it would probably mean doing a lot of extra work as well as having the nuisance of knocking back plastered coverings etc to reveal supports.
Getting indemnity insurance is standard if the owners don't have the correct paperwork and yes you may need to do the same when you sell. You may want to get a structural engineer over now to take a look as, if there is a problem, it may take a long time to get sorted. If it was just one issue I would be inclined to possibly risk it but two large issues would concern me.
Buyer pays for surveys and further investigations.
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