Loft conversion whithout planning permission adn BR

Discussion in 'General Property Investment Discussion' started by massilia13, May 17, 2019.

  1. massilia13

    massilia13 New Member

    Hi everyone,

    We are in the process of buying a property and we have just found out that the loft conversion (into a bedroom) was done without planning permission nor building regulations. This work was done probably over 25 years ago (windows are dated 1993) well before the current owners moved in.

    I asked my solicitors if this bedroom would still be considered fit for purpose and they confirmed, verbally, that it would. I find it difficult to believe. I would not want to pay for the price of a 3 bedrooms bungalow and selling it as 2 beds one in the future. Unsure if an estate agent can market a property as a 3-bedroom bungalow if it turns out that one of the bedroom was a loft conversion without planning permission granted and building regulations approved? Could the use of the room as the bedroom for over 25 years change anything about it? I have read things about the 4 / 10 years rule, but I don’t think this could apply here.

    Any thoughts?

    We would also have all sort of other issues:

    Risk of law enforcement by the Council (even if it is very unlikely)
    We can’t guarantee the structure is adequate / the extension meets building regs
    Could affect our mortgage
    Insurance company could refuse to pay out under building insurance policy
    Could impact the selling price as future buyer might not be prepared to take the risk

    Our options so farm if we wish to proceed, seem to be taking an indemnity insurance (not too keen on it as it doe not cover much) or to get a certificate of regularisation from the seller (if built after 1985 which is unlikely) which consist in an intrusive very long and complex work which is very likely to be refused.

    Can you see any other options?
  2. lookinginvest

    lookinginvest Member

    Is there not a time limit after which an extension/change to a property does not need to be reported? I cant imagine they can extend this indefinitely?
  3. Longterminvestor

    Longterminvestor Administrator

    Have you spoken to the council?
  4. massilia13

    massilia13 New Member

    Thanks for your replies.

    No i have not, my solicitor asked me not to contact the council without the seller authorisation as it could prevent them from getting an indemnity insurance which I am not too keen on.

    My solicitor believes that it would be very difficult to get a retrospective planning permission or a certificate of regularisation for BR due to the fact that it was built 26 years ago and it would be a complex and intrusive work which I understand.

    I was wondering if a lawful development certificate of existing use could be a good option?

    This would prevent any enforcement in the future and could allow me to market it as a 3 bedroom bungalow in the future when/if I sell it?
  5. FWL

    FWL Member

    Have you had your own survey done to see if the extension meets with building regs?
  6. massilia13

    massilia13 New Member

    Not yet, It has been booked for 03rd of June
  7. massilia13

    massilia13 New Member

    Thanks for all your inputs,

    Would anyone know, if under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) or the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) or the estate agent act of 1979, estate agents are not allowed to market a property, let’s say as a 3 bedroom bungalow, if one of the bedroom was a loft conversion with no planning permission and no building regulations?

    If so would you know under what section is it stipulated?

    Thank you
  8. diyhelp

    diyhelp Active Member

    This is where it all gets very tricky and legal jargon takes over - I would seek professional advice even if your first port of call was the citzens advice bureau and take it from there.
  9. massilia13

    massilia13 New Member

    You are right, rather difficult to obtain a clear answer so far.

    We had the survey report back and nothing serious was flagged up.
    The comments about the loft were also ok and reassuring in terms of building regs and structure.
    The surveyor believes the work was done prior 1985 which rules out the certificate of regularisation option.

    I guess we are now left with the indemnity insurance which, to me, offers very limited cover and is mainly designed to avoid delaying the sale process.

    Any thoughts?
  10. FWL

    FWL Member

    All sounds very messy to me - whatever you decide to do, dont leave yourself open, ensure everything is discussed and resolved NOW.

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