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    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 9:12 AM
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    thenpaking
    Live/Work Unit: Condition in Lease
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:12 AM
    Live/Work Unit: Condition in Lease 18th Oct 16 at 9:12 AM
    I am trying to buy a flat designated as a Live/Work unit. The lease says it cannot be used either wholly residentially or wholly for business (B1) purposes. My solicitor is insisting the seller get planning permission to re-zone it, and have the lease varied. He says that I could be forced to sell the flat if the council slap an enforcement notice on me. Or that the lease could be forfeited by the landlord because I am in breach.
    Catastrophic as these situations both are, are either of them likely? If my mortgage lender is happy to lend, should I just plough on and sort this out myself at a later date? I am concerned that the seller may abandon the sale due to the cost or time to sort this out.
Page 1
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 9:36 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:36 AM
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:36 AM
    I presume your solicitor isn't going to sign it off for your lender without both planning and the lease being varied, so "just ploughing on" is unlikely to be an option.

    Is the council likely to grant the planning permission? (e.g. has this happened for any of the neighbours?)
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 9:45 AM
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    thenpaking
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:45 AM
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 9:45 AM
    Two of the neighbours in a block of 50 have been granted planning permission. I don't know if any more people applied and were turned down. I'd say it's do-able. The issue is more the time (and whether the seller proves unwilling to do it). The seller's solicitors are exceptionally slow and useless. It's taken 6 weeks for them to reply to his first letter, which concerned this issue, and we still haven't had the standard property forms.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 10:06 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:06 AM
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 10:06 AM
    Two of the neighbours in a block of 50 have been granted planning permission. I don't know if any more people applied and were turned down.
    Originally posted by thenpaking
    You should be able to check on the council's website - which may also give you clues about the policies they're applying for such applications.
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 11:33 AM
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    thenpaking
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:33 AM
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:33 AM
    I've had a look at the documentation for those two, and they are both very brief. Both mention that the flats "have been used for residential purposes for a period of more than four years prior to the date of this application, and are therefore lawful within the meaning of Section 191(2)(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)".
    I'd be in the same position as the seller has inhabited the flat for 5 years purely residentially. It looks like a box ticking exercise. But they both took 2 months to be completed.
    What I am confused about is this: why would my solicitor refuse to sign it off, rather than bringing the risk to my attention, if the likelihood of this is low, and the resolution seems straightforward, probably not that costly, but just time consuming?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 11:38 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:38 AM
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:38 AM
    Standard residential mortgage products are based on the risks being low, and lenders don't want to knowingly take on a situation where there appears to be an existing breach of planning. Even if it's merely time-consuming to resolve, that costs them money if they've already repossessed.
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 11:44 AM
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    thenpaking
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:44 AM
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:44 AM
    I see. So in your opinion there really is no other option but to get the planning permission? I suppose they'd better get on with it then....
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
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    davidmcn
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
    So in your opinion there really is no other option but to get the planning permission?
    Originally posted by thenpaking
    Yes. You're trying to buy a house which doesn't have planning permission to be used as a house. Even if you weren't getting a mortgage, you'd really want it sorted before committed yourself to the purchase.

    Was this marketed as having live-work consent or has it come as a last minute surprise to everyone?
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
    • 25 Posts
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    thenpaking
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 16, 11:49 AM
    One more thing: my broker has looked at the documentation from the lender, and he reckons they are fine with Live/Work units. I would also likely meet the requirements, as I have a small business (that's not just professional services), which would be run from the flat (without visitors, noise etc). How can I know that my solicitor is not blowing this up out of all proportion?
    I should also say, Thanks for your replies!
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 11:51 AM
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    thenpaking
    To your question: no it wasn't marketed as having Live/Work consent. Once this was brought to my attention, I checked out the history of the development, and adverts for other sales in the building and they were marketed like this. This may be because the seller has done it through Purplebricks, and they didn't do their due diligence.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 18th Oct 16, 12:09 PM
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    Cakeguts
    Was the price cheaper than non Live/Work units of the same size in the same area?
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 12:09 PM
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    davidmcn
    my broker has looked at the documentation from the lender, and he reckons they are fine with Live/Work units.
    How can I know that my solicitor is not blowing this up out of all proportion?
    Originally posted by thenpaking
    I don't know - what does the documentation from the lender say about it?
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 12:20 PM
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    thenpaking
    The mortgage documentation says: "Some part commercial properties can be accepted on normal residential terms (subject to a satisfactory valuation)" and these include Live/Work units and properties with "One room used as an office/consulting room". They don't define Live/Work though. The valuation has been approved. The offer hasn't been issued yet: there was some delay because of unrelated problems with my documentation.
    And no, I wouldn't say the price was cheaper than non-Live/Work units in the area. The seller is thinking of it as a luxury flat in an area where there aren't so many of those.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 12:30 PM
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    davidmcn
    Was the valuation on the basis of live-work planning? And if so, has the lender been asked whether they'd accept it?
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 12:51 PM
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    thenpaking
    I've just checked with my broker, and no the valuation wasn't made on that basis, and the lender hasn't specifically been asked yet, we've just consulted the documentation.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Oct 16, 1:05 PM
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    davidmcn
    I've just checked with my broker, and no the valuation wasn't made on that basis, and the lender hasn't specifically been asked yet, we've just consulted the documentation.
    Originally posted by thenpaking
    Ok, so either you continue on the basis that the seller's got to get the planning consent fixed, or you ask your lender if they'll lend on the basis that the live-work planning remains (and they'll then have to get a new valuation on that basis).
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 1:12 PM
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    thenpaking
    OK. That's good to know. I am exploring the possibility that the seller fixes the planning consent. My worry is that because of the time that would involve she might abandon the sale. If I got the lender to revalue this, I wouldn't need to have the lease altered either right?
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 18th Oct 16, 1:33 PM
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    the_r_sole
    tbh if I was selling a live/work unit and someone told me i had to get planning permission to change it to purely residential I would question why a buyer was even looking at my property in the first place, insisting on a change of use application at the expense of the seller will most likely lead to the sale falling through
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 18th Oct 16, 1:40 PM
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    Hoploz
    It isn't exactly clear but I assume you are planning to use this flat purely as residential. If the sell has 50 flats to sell then he is going to have to get this sorted in order to get them all sold, surely
    • thenpaking
    • By thenpaking 18th Oct 16, 1:49 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    thenpaking
    the_r_sole: the point was, I didn't know it was a live/work until until my solicitor brought this to my attention. My concern is that the vendor might feel like you and cancel the sale (which I don't want). What I am trying to understand is how to navigate through this, and sensibly assess the risk I am in.
    Hoploz: the development was done in quite some time ago when live/work was the funky new thing (or something), so it's not an issue for the landlord.
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