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  • FIRST POST
    • EGBoyle
    • By EGBoyle 8th Feb 18, 2:58 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 1Thanks
    EGBoyle
    Conversion done with no building consent?
    • #1
    • 8th Feb 18, 2:58 PM
    Conversion done with no building consent? 8th Feb 18 at 2:58 PM
    Hello,

    I'm a first time buyer and after nearly a year of searching found an ideal house, In a good area and on a nice street. However I have hit a problem.

    The house is listed as more than other 2 bed houses on the street because of a loft conversion that has created 'usable and heated attic space'. I based a first offer on this but counteracted this with the fact internally the standard is not as high as others that have sold recently. - I expected a no from the offer because it was low but the seller has said it was unreasonable because of the additional attic space.

    After chatting with my family about putting in a higher offer that fairly reflects the attic conversion it has been flagged that the attic space doesn't appear to have been done to building regulations. Because of this I have asked the seller if she has a copy of building regs and she has come back with a no, stating that the conversion was there when she moved in so she has no documentation. I then asked if anything had flagged in her survey about this and she has said no but also doesn't have a copy of her survey.

    Now myself and my family may be completely wrong and as this is only a usable attic room and not a bedroom they may not need building regs but my thoughts are any internal work should have to be checked especially as this creates a 3rd floor in the house there must be some form of H&S certificate and as its in roof space a structural certificate to approve that beams haven't been altered. I am unsure how she managed to buy it without this documentation and unsure how she expects to sell without it.

    The work itself isn't the issue but if i need to do it i can't offer max amount as I will need to hold back money to correct it but if it has all been done to standard then yes I can offer more.

    I obviously don't want to make a higher offer with her 'assurance all is ok' only to have a survey come back and state the attic hasn't been converted properly and then in turn my mortgage valuation come back that i have offered too much for what is only a 2 bed house because the conversion can't be listed.

    I do really like the house and they know i'm interested because of my first offer but with all the above in mind I'm so unsure on what to do.
    • Does anyone have any advice on what my next move should be?
    • Has anyone been through this before?
    • Should I offer a higher amount on condition building regulations are produced in retrospect?
    • What realistically should you pay for 'converted usable attic room'?
    • Do regulations not count if it isn't listed as a bedroom?
    • Is there anything I can do to make her realise she may need documentation?
    • Or am I stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one?
Page 1
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 8th Feb 18, 3:10 PM
    • 10,383 Posts
    • 8,516 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #2
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:10 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:10 PM
    Think about this one.

    What would you actually do with a "usable attic room"? If you have a model railway layout could be ideal, or other possible hobby room. If not you're paying an awful lot for glorified storage.
    • Cariad71
    • By Cariad71 8th Feb 18, 3:22 PM
    • 155 Posts
    • 147 Thanks
    Cariad71
    • #3
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:22 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:22 PM
    Hi, we had the same problem when purchasing our house. The attic had no building regs certificate.
    Our mortgage provider felt that this was an issue.
    We loved the house. The vendor paid for an indemnity and we (with vendor's permission) got a structural engineer in to proof the conversion was structurally sound.
    Since purchasing the house, we have purchased retrospective building regs (we had to make some changes).
    Starting balance £173,000 (Sept 2012) interest only so if we do nothing We will owe this at the end of the term!!!128513;!!!128513;
    Balance as of Sept 2014 £165,803
    Balance as of Feb 2015 £163,360
    Balance end of July 2015 £159,050
    Balance as of Jan 2017.... £138,033
    • EGBoyle
    • By EGBoyle 8th Feb 18, 3:28 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    EGBoyle
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:28 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:28 PM
    Hi, we had the same problem when purchasing our house. The attic had no building regs certificate.
    Our mortgage provider felt that this was an issue.
    We loved the house. The vendor paid for an indemnity and we (with vendor's permission) got a structural engineer in to proof the conversion was structurally sound.
    Since purchasing the house, we have purchased retrospective building regs (we had to make some changes).
    Originally posted by Cariad71
    Glad its not just me! Because the vendor paid for indemnity did they have to pay anything towards the regs? or was that still all left to you to do?

    Was indemnity how you eased the mortgage providers mind?
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 8th Feb 18, 3:29 PM
    • 5,836 Posts
    • 5,579 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:29 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 18, 3:29 PM
    The house is what it is - so just offer whatever you are willing to pay for it.

    It may be impossible to get retrospective building regs, without remodelling the whole house.

    If you want to put a bed in the loft and sleep there, nobody will stop you. There probably isn't a fire escape route (and/or insulation and/or headroom) to current standards - but there are probably hundreds of thousands of older 3 storey houses in the UK which don't meet current standards.

    When you sell, some buyers will be nervous in the same way that you are - so you'll need to price it accordingly.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Feb 18, 4:00 PM
    • 24,468 Posts
    • 67,332 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 4:00 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 4:00 PM
    Your first port of call is proper survey to establish just how good the conversion is. The estate agent makes it sound like it is just a boarded space! Sometimes they do shy away from committing to calling it a room when there are no regs, but of course, it really could be just a boarded space when a loft conversion is a proper structural building project.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 8th Feb 18, 4:09 PM
    • 16,429 Posts
    • 14,687 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 18, 4:09 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 18, 4:09 PM
    The work itself isn't the issue
    Originally posted by EGBoyle
    OK, so what is?

    but if i need to do it i can't offer max amount as I will need to hold back money to correct it
    But you just said the work wasn't the issue.

    There's really three potential factors here.

    1. Will the lender lend?
    2. Will the local authority have a huff?
    3. Will it fall down?

    So...
    1. Only your lender can tell you. An indemnity may calm them down if they do.
    2. Not unless it was done recently - they simply won't care.
    3. No amount of now-aged paperwork will tell you for sure.

    Do you even know when it was done? Maybe it didn't need BR at the time. Even if it did, building regs now are very different to what they used to be. Even if it was done to then-current regs, it almost certainly won't meet modern regs. Does that make it badly done...?

    Basically - you have three choices...
    1. Demand they bring it up to modern regs and get approval for it. Long, slow, invasive (insulation and other hidden things are going to need to be accessed to check) = expensive. Ain't going to happen.
    2. Walk away.
    3. Accept it is what it is, and buy the house without a piece of paper that's never existed.
    • EGBoyle
    • By EGBoyle 8th Feb 18, 4:13 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    EGBoyle
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 4:13 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 4:13 PM
    The house is what it is - so just offer whatever you are willing to pay for it.

    It may be impossible to get retrospective building regs, without remodelling the whole house.

    If you want to put a bed in the loft and sleep there, nobody will stop you. There probably isn't a fire escape route (and/or insulation and/or headroom) to current standards - but there are probably hundreds of thousands of older 3 storey houses in the UK which don't meet current standards.

    When you sell, some buyers will be nervous in the same way that you are - so you'll need to price it accordingly.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    I get your point and i know what my limit would be, I think i may just have to keep trying but keep all offers as subject to survey and renegotiate depending on what is flagged.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 8th Feb 18, 5:56 PM
    • 3,765 Posts
    • 5,205 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 5:56 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 5:56 PM
    Hello,

    I'm a first time buyer and after nearly a year of searching found an ideal house, In a good area and on a nice street. However I have hit a problem.

    The house is listed as more than other 2 bed houses on the street because of a loft conversion that has created 'usable and heated attic space'. I based a first offer on this but counteracted this with the fact internally the standard is not as high as others that have sold recently. - I expected a no from the offer because it was low but the seller has said it was unreasonable because of the additional attic space.

    After chatting with my family about putting in a higher offer that fairly reflects the attic conversion it has been flagged that the attic space doesn't appear to have been done to building regulations. Because of this I have asked the seller if she has a copy of building regs and she has come back with a no, stating that the conversion was there when she moved in so she has no documentation. I then asked if anything had flagged in her survey about this and she has said no but also doesn't have a copy of her survey.

    Now myself and my family may be completely wrong and as this is only a usable attic room and not a bedroom they may not need building regs but my thoughts are any internal work should have to be checked especially as this creates a 3rd floor in the house there must be some form of H&S certificate and as its in roof space a structural certificate to approve that beams haven't been altered. I am unsure how she managed to buy it without this documentation and unsure how she expects to sell without it.

    The work itself isn't the issue but if i need to do it i can't offer max amount as I will need to hold back money to correct it but if it has all been done to standard then yes I can offer more.

    I obviously don't want to make a higher offer with her 'assurance all is ok' only to have a survey come back and state the attic hasn't been converted properly and then in turn my mortgage valuation come back that i have offered too much for what is only a 2 bed house because the conversion can't be listed.

    I do really like the house and they know i'm interested because of my first offer but with all the above in mind I'm so unsure on what to do.
    • Does anyone have any advice on what my next move should be?
    • Has anyone been through this before?
    • Should I offer a higher amount on condition building regulations are produced in retrospect?
    • What realistically should you pay for 'converted usable attic room'?
    • Do regulations not count if it isn't listed as a bedroom?
    • Is there anything I can do to make her realise she may need documentation?
    • Or am I stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one?
    Originally posted by EGBoyle
    I could have a usuable heated attic space if I boarded it over and put in a fan heater on a long lead but I wouldn't expect anyone to pay more for it than an ordinary attic space.

    The vendors probably didn't do what you are doing and paid more for the house with the boarded attic and some sort of heating so they are trying to get the same percentage of money for it over the ones in the road without the nice attic storage.

    How much would it cost you to buy a cheaper one board the attic and install an electric heater? If a lot less then the one you are looking at is overpriced.
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