We rely on advertising to keep the lights on.

Please consider adding us to your whitelist.



Advanced search

Buying a house with no completion certificate

(32 Posts)
JellyBellies Mon 24-Oct-16 18:39:26

We had an offer accepted on a property. The extension was done in 2004.

The survey pointed out that the drains were not vented and advised that we get a completion certificate for the extension.

Sellers are saying that they done have a completion certificate. They bought in 2006. Our solicitor is saying that due to the the time elapsed we cannot insist on a completion certificate or indemnity insurance.

Is this correct please? Will we have issue if we try to sell in the future?


JellyBellies Mon 24-Oct-16 19:46:04


H1ghw4y61Revisited Mon 24-Oct-16 19:54:39

Generally speaking you can't insist on anything if the work was carried out more than 10 years ago. When you go to sell you'll be saying the same thing as the vendors are saying now. You can request they get a certificate if it is a condition of your mortgage, but they don't have to comply unfortunately. Good luck

JellyBellies Mon 24-Oct-16 21:05:54

Thanks! Also what serves as proof that the extension was done in 2004? Do I just take the sellers word for it?

JoJoSM2 Mon 24-Oct-16 23:07:47

The council should have records of when it was done. I'd just clarify if it meets building regs, what remedial work it might require and how much that might cost. It was done long ago by a previous owner so insisting on paperwork could be a mute point.

Cucumber5 Mon 24-Oct-16 23:11:28

Can you pay for the indemnity yourself?

H1ghw4y61Revisited Mon 24-Oct-16 23:42:26

If it was done without permission there won't be any records, might be worth asking the V's to get their previous solicitor to check a certificate wasn't obtained when they bought, if it wasn't, they could probably recover the cost of an indemnity policy from their solicitor as it should have been requested when they bought. Otherwise as a PP suggested you could get an indemnity policy for around £150, or fix the problems and get a regularisation certificate, but if your main concern is just selling at a later date, the work is too old to be a problem for you. Hope it works out for you

JellyBellies Tue 25-Oct-16 22:40:24

Thanks everyone. We are planning to go ahead with the purchase. However someone mentioned that the lack of a completion certificate could mean that my building insurance mat not pay out if required. Is this possible please?

Shurelyshomemistake Wed 26-Oct-16 10:09:58

eeek - be really wary about buying a property without all the relevant certificates being in place for something as fundamental as an extension.

There can only be a few explanations for this - whoever did the extension did not want the hassle of dealing with the council OR they knew it would not meet BR approval. It's not that hard to get passed, so there may be defects in the workmanship. Only buy if you could afford to fix any defects arising out of poor workmanship yourself. Or demolish and rebuild the affected portion to BR standard.

I'm not sure about insurance but I could completely see why an insurance company wouldn't pay out if you hadn't declared that part of the house was uncertificated. In their eyes this would make it much higher risk for something expensive going wrong.

Shurelyshomemistake Wed 26-Oct-16 10:17:26

remember also that indemnity insurance might cover the costs of any enforcement action that the council might take if the building is deemed unsafe, but it would not necessarily cover any remedial work caused by defective but not terminal problems, IYSWIM.

Really, this is all something your solicitor should be advising you on. That's what you're paying them for.

Have you had a full building survey, and not just a homebuyers' report?

mintspie Wed 26-Oct-16 12:04:04

Lots of houses sell without completion certificates and I don't think anyone is worried for anything that has been carried out over 20 years ago.

I sold my father's house without same (and a conservatory was added).

Shurelyshomemistake Wed 26-Oct-16 12:12:28

But this house was only extended little more than 10 years ago.

I wouldn't buy one personally as I'd surmise the work wasn't done to whatever standard was required at the time.

If the OP is asking would it put future buyers off, then the answer for some buyers would definitely be yes. Others wouldn't care, but some would. I don't want a house that could bring with it unexpected costs - haven't got the time or resources to sort it out.

mintspie Wed 26-Oct-16 12:35:38

Ah, sorry - I've just noticed it was only 10 years ago. In that case - you need a certificate.

JellyBellies Fri 28-Oct-16 21:46:16

We did have a full building survey. The only issue found was the one I men in th Op. Surveyor said house was in excellent condition. Not worried about repairs really.

More about insurance bring valid etc.

Solicitor has pointy black said extension is too old to demand paperwork for.

Munstermonchgirl Sat 29-Oct-16 08:02:53

Check with the council as they will have a record if there was planning permission and compliance with regulations.
We had a similar situation- I can't recall but I think there may have been a small cost for the council to access the record.
Our vendor had no recollection of a certificate but that really doesn't matter if you have the evidence from the council. There must be thousands of certificates which
Get lost so don't assume the extension isn't legit.

rumbelina Sat 29-Oct-16 08:23:33

Just check before contacting council because I think you can't get indemnity policy if you do.

JellyBellies Mon 31-Oct-16 11:27:55


So, after all the agonising, it turns out that the vendors do have a completion certificate after all!

I don't understand why our solicitor was almost blocking us on this. We were about to go ahead on with the exchange when I got cold feel and asked the solicitor one last time.

Same answer so I contacted the estate agents. They spoke to the vendor and confirmed the existence of a completion certificate and a master bond warranty (not sure what that is). They will be handing this paperwork over to us.

I can't believe we didn't ask earlier. We are first time buyers and assumed that we had to ask through the solicitor.

mintspie Tue 01-Nov-16 09:03:13

Your solicitor sounds absolutely useless.

JellyBellies Tue 01-Nov-16 10:55:49

Agreed. We used the solicitor recommended y the mortgage broker as we thought this will make communication easier. Lesson learnt!

Pujowski Sun 30-Jul-17 19:03:55

In the same position- loft conversion in 2004 and two storey side extension in 1997, both without completion certificates. Rang council and they have records of inspections to a point but not the final one. Not worried about council taking action- it's been to long so indemnity policy is useless. What is worrying is this- I rang Aviva and AXA home insurance and asked if I would be covered in the event of an insurance claim for extension and work that didn't have a completion certificate- the answer was NO! This would only surface as an issue during the claims process when you are at your most vulnerable....Wonder how many people out there have purchased such properties and are paying insurance premiums totally oblivious that they are not covered should the worst happen. Who can afford to pay a mortgage on a property when it is inhabitable and all repair and rebuilding costs have to be footed by you too?!!!! I've asked my vendor to contact the council and sort it out- at least get a regularisation certificate. Failing this we will walk. To proceed and the worst happens would mean financial ruin for us.

m0therofdragons Sun 30-Jul-17 19:21:15

This is interesting. The house we're buying doesn't have certificates for work done by previous owners before 2007 but our solicitor is absolutely insistent they must put an indemnity in place.

Pujowski Sun 30-Jul-17 19:27:55

Indemnity only covers against council enforcement and usually this isn't possible after 4 years so it's a waste of money

EyeHalveASpellingChequer Sun 30-Jul-17 19:31:01

You'll get more replies if you start a new thread instead of resurrecting one which is 9 months old.

Pujowski Sun 30-Jul-17 19:34:08

He should be advising you to get a full structural survey and be warning against the lack of buildings insurance cover. I will be ringing BIBA tomorrow to see which insurers, if any, will provide cover

Pujowski Sun 30-Jul-17 19:35:45

EyeHalve- sorry, new to this but felt people should be aware of the risks solicitors are failing to warn us about

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now