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  • FIRST POST
    • ih8stress
    • By ih8stress 6th Oct 16, 10:12 PM
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    ih8stress
    No planning permission for Extension + Covenants
    • #1
    • 6th Oct 16, 10:12 PM
    No planning permission for Extension + Covenants 6th Oct 16 at 10:12 PM
    I purposely asked if there was planning permission on a rear single storey extension, (done before the current owner moved in) before offering on a bungalow.
    The Estate Agent checked with the Sellers' Solicitor who confirmed that they could get the paperwork from the council, so I put in my offer.

    6 weeks down the line, I have just found out that pp is not available after all. The Sellers' Solicitor has approached the council who say that nothing going back as far as 1974 is showing.
    The property was built sometime in the 70's and extended in the 80's (assumed dates in my survey) so it falls well outside of the 4 year clause for pp but not building regs.

    As the Solicitor approached the council an Indemnity is not possible but I would not have accepted this anyway as they do not protect against shoddy work etc.

    There are also a couple of Covenants, one stating that any alterations need written consent first. My Solicitor doubts that the extension or garage have these. A fence has also been built which contravenes a Covenant.

    Should I be trying to get retrospective building regs ('regularisation') from the Seller?
    Does it actually 'de-value' the property now?

    I'm also concerned about re-selling and the possibility of restricting future buyers and lenders to people who are okay with Indemnities (and not being able to disclose that until after an offer is accepted).

    Thank you in advance
Page 1
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 6th Oct 16, 10:41 PM
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    davidmcn
    • #2
    • 6th Oct 16, 10:41 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Oct 16, 10:41 PM
    Nobody with any sense is going to get worked up about a lack of consents for an extension built in the 80s (would it even have needed planning?). If it was "shoddy work" then surely signs of that would have become apparent in the past 27+ years?
    • Yorkie1
    • By Yorkie1 6th Oct 16, 11:02 PM
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    Yorkie1
    • #3
    • 6th Oct 16, 11:02 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Oct 16, 11:02 PM
    Don't forget that covenants usually have nothing to do with planning permission / building regs. Your solicitor will be able to advise who has the benefit of them, if anyone, and the likelihood of them being enforced.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 6th Oct 16, 11:04 PM
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    G_M
    • #4
    • 6th Oct 16, 11:04 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Oct 16, 11:04 PM
    Possible issues:

    * council enforces planning consents and forces you to knock down. 4 year rule. Not going to happen
    * council enforces building regs and forces you to knock down or re-build to current standards. 2 year rule. Not going to happen
    * shoddy workmanship means extension falls down. 30 years old? Would have happened already if going to
    * shoddy workmanship means extension is poorly insulated or otherwise not to current standards. 30 years old so would not be to current standards anyway
    • AlexMac
    • By AlexMac 7th Oct 16, 9:18 AM
    • 1,659 Posts
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    AlexMac
    • #5
    • 7th Oct 16, 9:18 AM
    • #5
    • 7th Oct 16, 9:18 AM
    We had a similar experience; and took the view it was not a real problem.

    We bought a house 5 years ago; built in the 1980's, which some time after that but prior to the last owner buying it, had had a structural internal wall removed to open up the ground floor, but without any contemporary paperwork.

    The last owner had simply commissioned a structural survey when he bought it, to give it the all-clear. In the unlikely event of a problem, he'd have claimed on the surveyor's professional indemnity.

    Fast-forward ten years or more to our buying it, and we learned that as the surveyor is only accountable to their client, we wouldn't be covered... unless we re-comissioned a new survey...

    Which we didn't bother to do, as there had been no movement or cracking in the 10-15 years since it was done... and we don't plan to sell any time soon, so such concerns will, by then, be lost in the mists of time.

    I am however getting 3 Council inspections and a building notice on my own current conversion of a garage; for 300-odd quid, less than 2% of the project cost it's daft not to!
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 7th Oct 16, 11:50 AM
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    Hoploz
    • #6
    • 7th Oct 16, 11:50 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Oct 16, 11:50 AM
    I can understand you being irritated by this, as you went to the trouble of asking at the outset.

    However, the EA probably just told you the paperwork would be got hold of from the council as your solicitor would often do this as part of normal transactions - the buyer's solicitor would make sure these consents existed in the course of their searches. It would not be usual for a seller's solicitor to have access to the actual paperwork before a transaction was well underway.

    For future reference you are quite likely to be able to find out for yourself whether planning permission exists by going on to the council's website and doing a planning application search. Some authorities also publish building regs applications as well. So if these things are important to you, you can always do the leg work (or finger work on the keyboard) yourself.
    • ih8stress
    • By ih8stress 7th Oct 16, 7:21 PM
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    ih8stress
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 16, 7:21 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 16, 7:21 PM
    Thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond. I have taken all your comments on board.

    Hoploz: That is good to know for the future, thanks.
    • ANGLICANPAT
    • By ANGLICANPAT 7th Oct 16, 7:30 PM
    • 1,074 Posts
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    ANGLICANPAT
    • #8
    • 7th Oct 16, 7:30 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Oct 16, 7:30 PM

    For future reference you are quite likely to be able to find out for yourself whether planning permission exists by going on to the council's website and doing a planning application search. Some authorities also publish building regs applications as well. So if these things are important to you, you can always do the leg work (or finger work on the keyboard) yourself.
    Originally posted by Hoploz
    As a matter of interest , does/could this have the same effect as if a solicitor had openly approached council to check , and if no planning was in place, you then couldnt get an indemnity put in place. ie do online searches draw councils attention to look for possible discrepancies?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 7th Oct 16, 7:58 PM
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    davidmcn
    • #9
    • 7th Oct 16, 7:58 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Oct 16, 7:58 PM
    do online searches draw councils attention to look for possible discrepancies?
    Originally posted by ANGLICANPAT
    While in theory they could, I've never heard of it happening (councils typically don't have enough resources to pursue this sort of thing anyway), or of insurance policies which would be invalidated by it.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 7th Oct 16, 8:18 PM
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    Davesnave
    As a matter of interest , does/could this have the same effect as if a solicitor had openly approached council to check , and if no planning was in place, you then couldnt get an indemnity put in place. ie do online searches draw councils attention to look for possible discrepancies?
    Originally posted by ANGLICANPAT
    People search old planning all the time.

    I've searched properties to find out what's been approved etc, even when I've only been thinking about a house purchase nearby.

    More recently, I've done it because I'm just plain nosy!

    It may be useful, for a variety of practical reasons : for example, finding the names of architects and other intermediaries who have submitted plans successfully.
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 7th Oct 16, 8:54 PM
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    Hoploz
    It's information in the public domain.
    • ANGLICANPAT
    • By ANGLICANPAT 7th Oct 16, 11:03 PM
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    ANGLICANPAT
    Thanks for the info . Ive had a look. Unfortunately in Islington , for planning permissions before 2005, you cant look online, they are hard copy only and have to be ordered.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 7th Oct 16, 11:33 PM
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    Davesnave
    Thanks for the info . Ive had a look. Unfortunately in Islington , for planning permissions before 2005, you cant look online, they are hard copy only and have to be ordered.
    Originally posted by ANGLICANPAT
    That's poor!

    Even in 2009, I was able to map-search Ceredigion for both planning and building regs approvals, and I'm sure the former went back to the mid 70s.
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 8th Oct 16, 4:37 AM
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    Hoploz
    That is a bit poor yes. I would throw in, however, that if the building predates 2005 and has no planning permission then it doesn't matter as it's mostly the case that if something has been built over 4 years with no enforcement then it can remain. Guess you'd just need proof it was built more than 4 years ago
    • Fuzzyness
    • By Fuzzyness 10th Oct 16, 11:21 AM
    • 510 Posts
    • 369 Thanks
    Fuzzyness
    As a matter of interest , does/could this have the same effect as if a solicitor had openly approached council to check , and if no planning was in place, you then couldnt get an indemnity put in place. ie do online searches draw councils attention to look for possible discrepancies?
    Originally posted by ANGLICANPAT
    some of us do it as a job. you're perfectly safe. the council will never know you're looking.
    • ANGLICANPAT
    • By ANGLICANPAT 10th Oct 16, 11:34 PM
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    ANGLICANPAT
    What about if it had to be ordered as before 2005, would have to be looked up, and sent out to a name and address?
    • Fuzzyness
    • By Fuzzyness 11th Oct 16, 8:46 AM
    • 510 Posts
    • 369 Thanks
    Fuzzyness
    What about if it had to be ordered as before 2005, would have to be looked up, and sent out to a name and address?
    Originally posted by ANGLICANPAT
    send it to your mum's house.

    they really dont care that much. the person sending the information would not be the person that would be looking or investigating whether there was a breach of planning. alternatively, arrange to go and view the file in the council offices. it happens regularly and to the point if they expected everyone that was looking at a file was trying to hide a breach of planning control they would never get anything done.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 11th Oct 16, 9:29 AM
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    davidmcn
    What about if it had to be ordered as before 2005, would have to be looked up, and sent out to a name and address?
    Originally posted by ANGLICANPAT
    Planning contraventions are only likely to be pursued if they're significant (probably involving third party complaints) - if nobody has brought it to the council's attention within the past 11 years they're hardly likely to spring into action now (and legally they're likely to be out of time anyway).
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 11th Oct 16, 10:52 AM
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    Hoploz
    Anglicanpat, is there something particular you want help with?
    • Richard Webster
    • By Richard Webster 11th Oct 16, 2:31 PM
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    Richard Webster
    If you ask a Council for copies of all consents relating to a particular property you can then see which ones don't exist. You are not stopping an indemnity policy being obtained.

    It is only if you ask for the permission for a specific piece of work and then get told there is none that you fall into that trap.

    Breaches of covenant that are more than 20 years old are unendeforcfeable. Same with planning breaches after 4-10 years (depending on the kind of breach). There is regrettably no formal period for immunity from enforcement re building reg contraventions. From a practical point of view there is a 2 year limit on the simplest kind of enforcement by a Council but theoretically they can still apply for an injunction in the County or High Court to require the removal of the work. It is the highly theretical possiblitiy of this that causes mortgage lenders to require indemnity policies for building reg contraventions.

    Anyone buying in these circuymstances needs to be happy (from a surveyor's opinion) that the work is structurally OK - and bear in mind that there are thousands of properties with work done many years ago that would no way comply with modern standards, but which still stand and are considered mortgageable.
    RICHARD WEBSTER

    As a retired conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful assuming any properties concerned are in England/Wales but I accept no liability for it.
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