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Selling house - need information from previous solicitor from purchase

(32 Posts)
TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:09:20

The thread title probably makes no sense and I'm sure the answer to this is tough luck! However...

We are selling our house and our buyer's solicitor has requested we purchase indemnity for a small single storey extension at the back that we think has been there since the 60s. There is no record of planning permission or permitted development. Fine, it's not a big deal but we would obviously rather not spend the money.

I have been going through all the paperwork from when we bought the house as obviously this wasn't raised then. Nothing from our solicitor at the time discusses this or raises it as an issue.

As I said at the beginning of my post I guess it's just tough but do you think we would get anywhere asking our previous solicitors? Could we ask them why they didn't notice the missing planning permission? It was 5 years ago that we bought the house.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Sun 11-Mar-18 19:14:25

I wouldn't bother.
Just purchase the indemnity insurance, it will be cheaper than solicitors fees.
We bought indemnity insurance for a house built in breach covenant for about £30

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:16:02

Thought so. The indemnity is £100 but our solicitors are charging us £75 + VAT admin fee to purchase it!

mancnet Sun 11-Mar-18 19:22:25

We had to buy indemnity insurance too for a kitchen extension that didn't have building regs. It was only £30 with no extra solicitor fee. I'd speak to your solicitor as to why they are charging you so much..

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:25:22

Could we just buy it ourselves and therefore pay no fee? Seems a bit cheeky

ICantFightThisFeelingAnyLonger Sun 11-Mar-18 19:25:59

Give the purchasers an allowance on completion of the cost of the indemnity policy (their Solicitors will send purchase price less the indemnity policy cost) and then purchasers' Solicitors can obtain the policy themselves. I've worked in Solicitors office for nearly 30 years and never heard of charging admin fee for obtaining such a policy. Outrageous!

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:32:50

Right, thanks! I will tell our solicitor we are purchasing it ourselves so we don't have to pay their admin fee. Go compare has it so I'll use that

Maursh Sun 11-Mar-18 19:34:00

Indemnity insurance is a bit of a con (for the buyer) it doesn't actually cover anything, but I digress.

If the changes were pre-1984 (I think) then it is exempt from a completions certificate, I believe. This might only apply to new builds. Certainly I don't think planning can demand anything be torn down or changed which is 50 years old. I am just basing this on research that we did as a buyer of a 17 year old property with no changes, NBCC expired and no completion cert. We pulled out of the purchase - indemnity insurance is worthless for any major problems.

Do your own research, conveyancers are stack 'em high types and have problem told the buyers a default "no certificate, insurance required"

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:36:42

Actually, no they don't

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:38:04

The building work was almost certainly carried out in the 60s so probably didn't need permission but I'm not sure how we can prove this

ICantFightThisFeelingAnyLonger Sun 11-Mar-18 19:42:09

We mostly use Countrywide Legal Indemnities and also Legal & Contingency at my work. You could give them a try too. Good luck!

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:43:54

So can we get in touch with them directly to just purchase it ourselves? Thanks smile

ICantFightThisFeelingAnyLonger Sun 11-Mar-18 19:51:33

I don't see why not. We use self issue policies provided in a folder by them for standard policies and just email them requesting a quote for complex ones. We then just send a cheque to pay the premium. Just make sure you get all the exact details of what the policy is for and double check the assumptions are correct to your case. You can always give them a call, they're usually very helpful smile

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 19:53:07


ICantFightThisFeelingAnyLonger Sun 11-Mar-18 19:59:42

Also make sure the policy will pass to successors in title and any mortgagee. It really would be easier for you to give allowance to purchasers for the cost so their Solicitors can obtain policy, as long as they don't charge rip off admin fee too! Hope you sort it out ok smile

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 20:05:04

The letter from their solicitor stated clearly they saw it as our responsibility so that probably won't fly. We could just pay our solicitor to do it but I don't like paying more for things than I need to grin

ICantFightThisFeelingAnyLonger Sun 11-Mar-18 20:06:38

Don't blame you, good luck!

bilbodog Sun 11-Mar-18 20:41:18

Just pay for it now - its these type of things that end up causing sales to fall through whilst people argue about whether or not to pay £100 for something which in the total scheme of things is nothing.

TheChineseChicken Sun 11-Mar-18 20:44:07

I'm happy to pay the indemnity - as you say, it's not worth arguing - I just don't want to pay nearly as much again on admin fees for my solicitor to do it, if we can do it ourselves

scaryteacher Mon 12-Mar-18 07:45:30

Your local authority should be able to dig around in the archives and find out when the work was done. We had queries about some work done to our house by a surveyor when we remortgaged...he was most cross I didn't have all the details to hand of work done in 1970 (4 years after I was born), and that was 22 years before we owned the place and we remortgaged in 05!!

I contacted our council and they dug the relevant paperwork out, scanned and sent it to me.

scaryteacher Mon 12-Mar-18 07:53:53

I've just done a search on my house and it's showing when the previous owners put in the central heating and the double,glazing, so that must be upwards of 40 years ago. Try the online planning portal on your council website and see what gives.

TheChineseChicken Mon 12-Mar-18 11:01:42

Hi Scary I've looked through the archives for our council and can find records for two bits of building work but not this small extension. I'm wary of contacting them as I believe once you have done that you can't get indemnity insurance?

TheChineseChicken Mon 12-Mar-18 11:02:37

But it seems odd the owners back then had paperwork for some works but not all - not sure why that would be

Jon66 Mon 12-Mar-18 11:10:11

Why are you paying a solicitor for advice and conveyancing and then asking and relying on complete strangers, possibly with no expertise and definitely with no insurance, on here for advice. It seems a bit silly. Just saying . . ..

scaryteacher Mon 12-Mar-18 11:15:38

I contacted my council in 05 to get the information about our extension. They just sent me the numbers for the planning applications they had (but mine were from 74-76), so evidently things were documented then as they are now.

I am not worried about the extension on our house as it's been there at least since the mid 70s; and if there were going to be any planning issues with it, they would have surfaced by now.

It seems daft to expect todays level of record keeping from a pre digital time. I don't suppose any councils have the time or the funds to scan everything digitally from decades back; microfilm is the best you are going to get I would think.

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