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2 weeks from completion, weve discovered there are no building regs on my house extension:-(

20 replies

Spacecadet1972 · 01/04/2009 22:58

Last March I put my house on the market as I was struggling to meet the mortgage payments.

After nearly a year, finally got a buyer, she could move quickly, everything was ticking along nicely, I secured a rental property etc, then a bombshell..it turned out that a 2 story extension on the house built in 2001, by the previous owners..had planning permission, but no building regs..it turned out that the former owner had applied for building regs and had a couple of inspections, but hadnt completed them and had a final completion certificate.

I contacted building control and asked them to come out and issue a certificate, and when the inspector came out, he couldnt issue one because some of the works (fairly minor stuff) didnt meet building regs and we would need to rectify them, he also said that there were aspects of the build that are normally viewed before covering over such as roof trusses,damp prrof course etc and said these would need to be examined.

Weve kept our buyer informed and initially she was happy to let us get the work done and get a completion certificate....however Ive been contacted today by my solicitor who has informed my buyers solicitors that the extension is structurally unsafe!! So of course my buyer is now terrified and wants to pull out..Im desperate not to lose my buyer..any ideas?

OP posts:
MsHighwater · 01/04/2009 23:25

Surely the solicitor you used when you bought the house should have uncovered this when doing the conveyancing?

Who has said the structure is unsafe? Your solicitor certainly isn't qualified to make that judgement so what is his/her source for this? Not having a building warrant is not the same as not being structurally safe and if your solicitor has given your buyer's solicitor this impression without grounds for doing so then you ought to have some comeback there. (it's not the same solicitor, is it?)

I guess you have to talk to your buyer and explain what you have been told - get stuff in writing from Building Standards if you can, arrange to get the work done asap and hope she hangs in there. In your shoes, I would definitely want to follow up the failure by your original solicitor to pick up this issue when you bought the house.

Northernlurker · 01/04/2009 23:41

Why has your solicitor told your buyer something that isn't true?

That's the first question I would be asking!

The second question would be addressed to whatever spinless sponge of a solicitor who acted for you on the purchase. It would involve some shouting and mention of the Law Society and would centre around them getting in touch NOW with your current solicitor to see if theres anything they can jointly do to hang on to your sale.

My third question might be well be addressed to a third solicitor and would revolve around whether you can claim any compensation from these clowns!

Spacecadet1972 · 01/04/2009 23:55

We are in the process of finding a solicitor prepared to act against the first solicitor at the moment.

The second solicitor works for the same firm as our current buyers solicitor and Im wondering if this is the problem. The second solicitor is not the same one who acted for us in the house purchase..Im wondering whether to terminate dealings with the second solicitor as im furious that he has frightened our buyer in this way

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Spacecadet1972 · 01/04/2009 23:57

we have written to the first solicitor and in a nutshell, they have told us to bog off!(not quite but you know what I mean)

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Northernlurker · 02/04/2009 00:04

Well the first solicitor would try that wouldn't they - seeing as they've been found lacking! Good luck finding someone to sue the useless arse off them!

It doesn't matter who the second solicitor has as a colleague - their job is to protect YOUR interests and they seem to have failed on that one.

Can you get in touch with your buyer direct? Might be an idea to say that you are doing everything you can to resolve this, will get all necessary paperwork, are pushing hard for a resolution etc etc. They will have spent quite a lot of cash that they won't want to lose, if you can convince them that you are honestly and satisfactorily dealing with this you may hang on to them ok.

Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 00:06

not quite sure how to get in touch with her tbh..we dont have a phone number for her sadly, it seems that she wont listen to the estate agent either as she thinks the EA are not telling her the truth..shes convinced now that the extension is dangerous!

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Northernlurker · 02/04/2009 00:10

I wouldn't listen to an estate agent even if they were assisted by Terry Waite, The Archangel Gabriel and Sister Wendy Beckett so I don't blame your buyer for that. Have you tried asking you EA for her number? I'm not sure if they will give it to you but it might be worth a try?

Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 00:13

Yes we did try and get her number when we first found out about the lack of building regs..and they wouldnt pass it on..I think we may have to kiss good bye to our sale

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Northernlurker · 02/04/2009 00:17

Well how about instructing the EA to giver her your number so she can call if she wants? Not much else to be done - apart from roasting your solicitors over a hot fire....

Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 00:20

I intend to try that one tomorrow..not convinced that they will do that though...I wondered if it would be worthwhile changing solicitors?

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navyeyelasH · 02/04/2009 00:24

Not sure about this but can't you get an indemnity policy? forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=159930

Also why would you sue the solicitor over this? They know nothing about the structure of the house - surely you'd sue your suveyor? Am just a lowly first time buyer though so not too sure!

navyeyelasH · 02/04/2009 00:26

And I always thought the vendor and purchaser couldn't have the same solicitor? We had to change ours as the vendor was already using them and there was a conflict of interest.

Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 00:28

indemnity policies cant be taken out once the council have been made aware of a lack of building regs and our buyer stipulated that she wanted the extension signed off.

the solicitor who acted for us in the house purchase is liable because they should have picked up the lack of paperwork for the extension(they are supposed to check that all permissions have been granted for the build)

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Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 09:08

Have just telephoned the solicitor this morning and insisted that he informed our buyer that there WAS NOT a structural problem, but he seems to think there is.grrrr

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Northernlurker · 02/04/2009 18:37

Oh so he's a structiral engineer now as well as an indiscreet twat?

Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 18:42

it would appear so

I telephoned the EA and asked them to arrange an appt for oir buyer to come to ours on saturday, then I can explain exactly whats happening to her.

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LIZS · 02/04/2009 18:49

Aaargh . No you can't get indemnity insurance once the problem has been brought to the attention of the council but your current solicitor should have forewarned you of that before you made contact. Will the buildings isnpector sign it off if it goes through the protocol and the minor corrections are made ? Do you know who the builder was or have a copy of the plans ?

Spacecadet1972 · 02/04/2009 21:29

Building control have said that if the aspects are addressed, then they will issue a completion certificate..our buyer had refused to accept an imdemnity policy anyway

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Fizzylemonade · 02/04/2009 22:00

Harping back to what navyeyelasH said

I didn't think you could use the same firm of solicitors for vendor and purchaser. This was told to me some years back when we were buying our first house.

The first solicitor should have picked this up (our sale nearly fell through because of lack of building regs on the house we were buying)

They rushed it through for us in a matter of days, but then it wasn't an extension where some things are hidden

Good luck for Saturday

jeanjeannie · 02/04/2009 22:17

Gosh - how awful - nothing much to add, apart from to say I also didn't think you could use the same firm as your purchaser.

I really hope you chase that solicitor who did the paperwork for you initially. Can't believe he didn't get something as fundemental as a building regs certificate Good luck - poor you.

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