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Is this against building regs - stairs in bedroom?

(27 Posts)
CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:25:37

Just seen a house thats been a bit longer than usual on rightmove in the area I'm looking - nice 2-3 bed terraces sell like hot cakes there right now. It's a bit higher than my top budget so I didn't see it before.

Then I saw the catch - staircase from the main bedroom to the loft room which they call 'occasional room' yet house is liste das 3-bed.

Never seen that before actually, as staircase is at the end/corner of the bedroom that is over the passegeway with no door (but carpeted proper one, not a flimsy type). As far as I can see on photos, there is no door in the loft room where it leads to.
I can see that may people wouldn't like it in terms of walking through a bedroom, but is this againstt he rules and potenatially a huge headache / delays with lawyers / would need indemnity?

It would actually suit me as there is a private bedroom two, which is just ok size on the 1st floor, AND I'm hoping there may be a discount for that as this far I've been outbid on every house.
Yet really don;t want to pay for surveyor just to find out it's wrong - I can't afford to pay two lots of survey fees if I have to pull out!

Thanks in advance if anyone can advise on this!

OP’s posts: |
seayork2020 Thu 29-Oct-20 01:27:15

I have no idea legally but I have seen lots of houses that have them, more on tv than in person

Monty27 Thu 29-Oct-20 01:31:19

Probably a planning issue. Not 3 bed imho

CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:32:04

I've never seen one in person unless it was a little spiral thing but then they don't call it a 3d bedroom, sea. This looks better but am much more worried about the regs / legal though.

OP’s posts: |
CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:33:20

Monty I don't mind if it's essentially classed as a2 bed if they drop the price a bit - but I don't want to buy anything that I need to remedy or haev special insurance etc - do you know if that's likely?

OP’s posts: |
NothingIsWrong Thu 29-Oct-20 01:36:30

It sounds like it won't meet Building Regs for a bedroom. Specifically, fire escape would worry me. And if they haven't done that properly, what else has been cut corners?

I would ask the estate agent for the completion certification for the 3rd bedroom and if it is not available, do not pay any more than you would for a 2 bed. In addition, I would get a full structural survey done with a focus on the loft to ensure that they haven't done anything stupid like butcher the trusses and the roof is spreading.

In short, be VERY wary. Mortgage company won't value it as more than a 2bed without BR completion, and may even down value it due to the risk of poor workmanship

user1471528245 Thu 29-Oct-20 01:40:35

If they have called it an occasional room and not a bedroom Its because it does not have planning permission or building regs, stairs have to fall at a specific gradient generally bedrooms don’t allow for this hence the stairs won’t pass planning so they cannot sell it as a 4 bedroom, no issue with buying it but you do take the risk that it may be a bodge job, you could ask them to buy indemnity insurance to cover this in the event you have a problem with the work however the bigger issue is when/if you want to sell you’ll have the same problem as they are having unless you get building regs on it which could potentially require a complete rebuild or buy it use it and bin off the stairs and loft room before you sell it on

CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:45:14

Nothing thank you for giving some technical detail. Otherwise house looks absolutely fine and well looked after - it's only a small terrace. I don't know if the fact that it's over passageway may mean something i/e. they should haev more support in the loft. Essentially they partitioned a narrow bit off the bedroom to put the stairs in - the finish is good.
I will ask about the cert, wasn't sure if sellers provide that unless you offer. I really dread to spend huge money on structural survey only to haev to pull out. BUT I don't need a mortgage and as I say it's a great location where I've not been successful wit hmy offers - so it's tempting to buy something quirky to get there unless it['s a money pit or unable to resell!

OP’s posts: |
cabbageking Thu 29-Oct-20 01:45:26

Lots of older houses have access to the next floor via the bedroom.
They need to comply with the requirements when they were built and in many cases there were no building regs.

If it is a newer build you can check any outstanding issues on the Council website. I don't have fire doors in my home as they were not a requirement when the house was built but still perfectly fine.

cabbageking Thu 29-Oct-20 01:46:49

I would read up on flying freehold if it spans a shared alley

CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:48:23

user just cross posted but that's just what I dread. The ceilings aer good heing fthough and stairs narrow and a bit spiralling from the picture - so I think the gradient might be ok but there is no doors. I def would not want to lose the loft, and no money for rebuilding.

OP’s posts: |
CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:48:50

celings are of good height, I mean.

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NothingIsWrong Thu 29-Oct-20 01:50:36

If it was done before 1985 it won't have building regs.

Beware of them offering an indemnity policy, these often only cover costs relating to enforcement action, not repair costs should the conversion fail. Check the wording carefully.

Monty27 Thu 29-Oct-20 01:50:36

CatAndHisKit

Monty I don't mind if it's essentially classed as a2 bed if they drop the price a bit - but I don't want to buy anything that I need to remedy or haev special insurance etc - do you know if that's likely?

Absolutely! Don't agree it's a 3 when it's a 2. Your mortgagees will hopefully spot any anomalies and following surveys etc. But I'd be careful

CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:51:13

cabbage it a Victorian terrrace. what does a flying freehold mean? those passageways aer ery common in the area.

And yes they call it an occasional bedroom later in description but house listed as a 3 bed.

OP’s posts: |
CatAndHisKit Thu 29-Oct-20 01:53:52

Monty I don't need a mortgage but as I mentiomed, worry about resale.

Nothing what do you mean by conversion fail? fail the regs, you mean - but it looks like no one challenged them or obliged then to rebuild, I really don't know how i works, and would I be potentially be obliged to rebuild, for example?

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cabbageking Thu 29-Oct-20 02:12:54

The alley may be be divided so one house owns the front portion and the neighbour the rear portion. It would be usual to pass through one bedroom to get to the next in a Victorian house.

Monty27 Thu 29-Oct-20 02:42:15

OP indeed. You need to know what you are buying 😳

Topseyt Thu 29-Oct-20 03:09:28

I don't know about legalities or structural stuff (and it very possibly doesn't pass building regs), but it is the sort of thing that would put me off as a potential purchaser anyway.

Accessing one bedroom via another however it is done is an out and out no from me as it would cause the potential invasion of someone's privacy on a possibly regular basis.

Spiral staircases or very steep/narrow space saving ones are also another no from me as I would find them very difficult to use. I don't feel safe on them so for me the "occasional room" would translate into the "unusable room." Then come potential doubts over the quality of the workmanship in the conversion and the fact that it probably compromises on storage space.

I suspect that sort of thing is why this has sat on the market for longer than most in the area. It is really a two bed house and they have shoehorned in a third one thinking that they were adding value. Not always. Badly thought through and it can mean adding problems instead.

mumsy27 Thu 29-Oct-20 03:44:56

flying, means if part of your property is extending over your land, for example a room above a passageway, hard to mortgage too.
you can use the extra "room" as an office or ensuite.

sunlight81 Thu 29-Oct-20 03:46:53

Our loft conversion has just completed.

Had to have fire doors fitted to all doors in the house plus enclosed stairs and a door sectioning off the loft room.

Depends when the loft was converted as to whether building regs can be enforced. It's usually only 12m after the changes.

If it doesn't currently comply, suggest a reduced offer based in remedial work required.

Terrace58 Thu 29-Oct-20 03:51:35

It won’t hurt to go take a look at the property and start asking questions.

An occasional room through a bedroom would make a great home office or a playroom for a child using the bedroom. Or could be great for siblings who are used to sharing a room but this way at least get more separation. Basically I would think of it as one big bedroom for pricing purposes.

NothingIsWrong Thu 29-Oct-20 07:00:14

Firstly, building control could take enforcement action against you because it doesn't meet the regulations. However, this is only possible within 12 months of completion. This is clearly not the case, so you will have no issue with that.

Secondly, the conversion could have been done badly and there is a risk of structural failure. This is what a survey would pick up.

If enforcement action is out of time, and the structure is sound then there is no real issue beyond the fact that you can't consider it a bedroom for valuation purposes. If you can agree a price you are happy with and accept the risk of future purchasers having similar issues, then really it's your decision. If the layout works for you then why not?

Heronwatcher Thu 29-Oct-20 07:09:02

I have seen this a couple of times- as others have said it’s not a massive issue if you can use the room but it should not “officially” be classed as a bedroom. However the reality is that if the rest of the house is nice you should still expect to pay more than a standard 2 bed as even if it’s not an official bedroom it’s still usable space. Agree that it should probably not be as much as a proper 3 bed but this will depend on the rest of the house too. Can you look at other sold houses on the street and see if you can move the stairs in due course (but no need to do this straight away if the space works for you).

GiraffeNecked Thu 29-Oct-20 07:29:59

I viewed houses where a bedroom had access from another bedroom or to the bathroom and the bedrooms were classed Quite correctly as Bedrooms. It was up to you as a buyer whether you could be arsed with it and the prices reflected it.

So if the buyer has done the conversion correctly of the loft it can be classed as 3bedroom. But get a surveyor round to check it.

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