Walk away?(29 Posts)
After four painful months of trying to purchase our dream home, we have now found out, at this very late stage, that thr two story side/single storey rear extension that makes up half the house, has not been inspected nor signed off building regulations.
The vendor has offered indemnity insurance, but that only covers us for any future building control enforcement action, not poor workmanship.
We have told the vendor that she either gets retrospective building consent, or we walk.
I'm happy to do this, because it's not a dream home if it has the potential to cost us a fortune. However, when we started the process, we had a four month old baby and have already sold and temporarily moved in with family (there were financial reasons for this). Is there any other way we can save this sale if the vendor refuses to get retrospective building control or is walking away our best option? Any advice truly appreciated!
Sorry to say it, but i’d Walk. If people will cut those corners, god knows what else they’ve done. First house I bought had a lot of DIY left undone, turned out the husband was a ‘have-a-go-harry’ so he’d ‘had a go’ at wiring in a plug socket - upside down wiring and completely lethal. He’d also tried to fix some wiring in the lounge ceiling by cutting a hole out of the floorboards in the master bedroom, but not over a joist, so when he put them back they were suspended in thin air - we had a very lucky escape if not falling through the floor on the first day. There were a catalogue of other things, but I think it’s a general attitude that means there will be lots of things wrong. To not get building regs etc means they see themselves as ‘above the law’....
If recently and no building regs they have massively devalued their house. If it was many years ago I wouldn’t necessarily expect building regs.
Right thing to do. Its the most money you are going to spend. If you wouldnt buy a second hand car without an mot, do not spend 100000s on a house that has been half built without building control.
So is it building regs or consent/permission? Your solicitor should be able to advise on the consent front.
Our 'forever' home had a very shoddy extension, i.e. missing foundations, single skin walls etc. Dealing with the building side of it wasn't that bad but then it is a large house in London and it needed work so we were going to throw money at it anyway.
Not sure how much your 'dream' house is worth or how much you'd be prepared to spend on putting things right but a thorough survey should be able to tell you what needs putting right + you could get quotes and negotiate on the price if needed.
Is the house being sold in very good condition or do you expect to do work? If the former I’d walk, if the latter I’d renegotiate the price.
We’ve just bought a house from a ‘have a go Harry’. I don’t regret it but we’re finding more things to re-do. Currently no shower as there was water leaking as they couldn’t tile (I mean really - they hardly put any wall adhesive on so there were massive gaps, then they didn’t grout properly so there were more massive gaps). This is basic stuff.
It has 2 extensions. We insisted the building regs were in place before exchange. However I’m gobsmacked with what they got signed off. Very little insulation (none in parts), incomplete guttering, cold water pipe that runs outside, radiators wrong spec for house, non safety glass in internal and external windows, windows not finished so you can see daylight round where they are fitted -this is all in the just signed off extension. So what I’m saying is that building regs aren’t necessary any guarantee that anything has been done properly! They are however an essential piece of paper for you to sell again.
If you do proceed negotiate enough off for you to get retrospective planning permission. Call your local building control (council) and ask them what it costs for visits etc. Then add a bit for you to do any likely work to need to do.
What did your survey say? Did you get a full one?
Thank you everyone for taking the time to give your opinions and advice.
Planning permission for the extensions was granted five years ago. So I am assuming the extensions themselves are under five years old.
On the surface, the extensions 'look good'. But we are not experts and it's easy to hide dodgy work and electrics under good decoration. This house is at the very top of our manageable budget and it would be difficult for us to start to throw additional money at necessary works.
We stupidly did not get a fulk survey for this house. We did get ones previously for older houses. We thought that a new extension of this scale and age would have all the relevant recent sign offs. A lesson for us in this case, as our surveyor would have found out much sooner the lack of building regulations than our solicitors.
I did think about getting a full survey carried out, but in this case, would it not be better to get the relevant paperwork? Would I not be spending money to do exactly what I hope the vendor will do by applying for building regulations?
This is potentially the second house we would walk away from due to lack of either planning permission or building regulations.
The house itself is presented very nicely. I was not expecting to do any work in the short term, maybe decorate more to our taste in the future.
I'd do as you are. My rule is full survey for any house that is particularly old, or that has had building work done to it.
My aunt and uncle don't have building regs for their loft, but my uncle is a carpenter, and they don't plan to move anytime soon. There must be a legitimate reason for them having not sought building regs consent unless they are a have a go Harry.
Other buyers will be the same, and I imagine their solicitor will tell them that too, that if you pull out over it others will. That might encourage them to seek permission. If they are adamant they won't, then to me that suggests they know they won't get sign off = walk away time anyway.
5 years ago?
Personally I’d be pretty annoyed at the agent for not being upfront about this.
You can ask them to get retrospective permission but it takes time.
I'd just ask for them to get the building regs to be signed off as a condition for exchange. I'd probably get a surveyor anyway to inspect it - they will act on your behalf and can have a detailed look at all aspects of the extension.
It's a pretty major thing for them to have not had signed off. We shrugged and renegotiated the price over our vendors' refusal to get a certificate for the 10 year old boiler, but that's a £1000 risk, not a £50k risk.
So the extension has planning, but not building regs? I don't think it should take too long to get the latter. The private company who are inspecting our extension are extremely quick to come out if anything is needed. I would hope that this would be something that could be obtained really quickly.
I'm waiting to see what the vendor is going to do. I completely forgot that you can have independent building control companies - maybe that could get things moving rather than waiting for the Council!
Update - well of course, the vendor is 'disappointed' with us
It would appear that the vendor has never kept it a secret that the extensions do not have signed off building regulations. In fact, her solicitor advised her that 'this happens all the time' and that 'indemnity insurance will sort it'.
This is where there has been an issue. The Local Search has shown a building regs application for the extensions. Our solicitors enquired as to why indemnity insurance was being offered if an application was in place, particularly when we were subsequently advised by the vendors solicitor that it looked like inspections had taken place and we are waiting on a final certificate. New information from the Council suggests now that is not the case.
However, it would appear that the vendor was not aware that we have been seeking clarification on the status of the building regs application and is disappointed that after all this time, we are not accepting the indemnity insurance, even though we have it documented that we have said we are not going to accept it.
I wouldn't want to be a solicitor. Everyone blames everyone.
I dunno, my experience of conveyancing solicitors is that they are absolutely useless and always on holiday when you most need them. I was selling my house after the bad breakdown of a relationship, and instructed my solicitors not to give out my address under any circumstances to my exP, so they sent a pile of paperwork with it on to him.
I really hope the vendors can sort this quickly. I don't really understand the ins and outs of indemnity insurance - can you not accept that in lieu?
It's my understanding that indemnity insurance will only cover cost should the Councils Building Control Department decide to take enforcement action against us not having building regs should they decide to. Which, after five years, is highly unlikely.
It won't cover us if we move in and a wall falls down or the foundations sink due to poor workmanship. That's my understanding at least.
A completed certificate would give us some comfort that a professional has assessed the extension and deemed it safe. That professional would also have their own insurance should there assessment be wrong.
I don't understand why they didn't get it signed off. It suggests it can't be signed off and I'd want to know why!
We're currently going through an extension and building regs is part of the process and any decent builders will know what to do or not do to get it signed off! We're using a private company too
I was going to say exactly the same as Bax. Any reputable builder will have got it signed off. So why didn’t they? I would be very interested to hear their answer.
Hoping to find out! Our solicitor asked the very same question back in November!
Ahhhh, I see.
What is the extension like? Single or double storey? Is there a loft extension? Any obvious violations?
We were under the impression (from the vendors solicitor) that inspections had been made, but that the building company went bust before a final certificate was issued. Appears that this is not the case from the Council.
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