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    • RositaF
    • By RositaF 10th Jul 18, 6:48 PM
    • 2Posts
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    RositaF
    Legality of renting out loft conversion without building reg approval for lodger
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 18, 6:48 PM
    Legality of renting out loft conversion without building reg approval for lodger 10th Jul 18 at 6:48 PM
    Hello all,

    I'm about to buy a house which was marketed as a 3 bed but doesn't have the BR approval for the loft, so on the advice of my surveyor I managed to renegotiate the price appropriate to a 2 bed with a nicely boarded out loft. When I move in I am hoping to rent out the loft space, but was wondering whether you have any knowledge about the legality of this?

    I'm also setting up a building insurance policy but not sure whether to call it a 2 bed (because of lack of BR) or a 3 bed (because the third bedroom will be inhabited).

    Finally, when I move in I would like to get a quote on getting approval for the loft (which was apparently converted by the council in the 1970s) but not sure whether getting a quote would mean I would be obliged to go ahead with the work, as it will be inhabited?

    If anyone could shed any light on this it would be very much appreciated!
Page 1
    • tacpot12
    • By tacpot12 10th Jul 18, 7:02 PM
    • 1,496 Posts
    • 1,279 Thanks
    tacpot12
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:02 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:02 PM
    Are you sure that the loft is safe to be occupied? How do you know? How might you prove it in a court, in the absence of BR approval?

    You buildings insurance won't cover you for certain sorts of claims if the loft is occupied, but doesn't have BR approval. You really don't want to find out when it is too late that the event that has happened isn't covered by your insurance.

    You should declare the property as a two bedroom property, and then change this when you are able to get approval AND you wish for anyone to occupy the room as a bedroom.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 10th Jul 18, 7:04 PM
    • 3,271 Posts
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    Robin9
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:04 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:04 PM
    Rent out the loft space to store cardboard boxes if you like but not to rent out to people.

    If the lodger was to die you'll probably face manslaughter charges
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • paddyandstumpy
    • By paddyandstumpy 10th Jul 18, 7:24 PM
    • 1,177 Posts
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    paddyandstumpy
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:24 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:24 PM
    Are you sure that the loft is safe to be occupied? How do you know? How might you prove it in a court, in the absence of BR approval?

    You buildings insurance won't cover you for certain sorts of claims if the loft is occupied, but doesn't have BR approval. You really don't want to find out when it is too late that the event that has happened isn't covered by your insurance.

    You should declare the property as a two bedroom property, and then change this when you are able to get approval AND you wish for anyone to occupy the room as a bedroom.
    Originally posted by tacpot12
    No. You should insure the property as a 3 bed to be on the safe side.

    Recently there was a case where a family home burnt down and insurers refused to pay, it was declared as a 5 bed but in actual fact was a 7 bed, the two loft rooms not have BR approval IIRC.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 10th Jul 18, 7:28 PM
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    Cakeguts
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:28 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:28 PM
    Get someone to check that the loft is up to the modern fire safety before you even think of letting it. Someone could die up there if it isn't fireproof with a fire escape route.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 10th Jul 18, 8:31 PM
    • 45,910 Posts
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    G_M
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 18, 8:31 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 18, 8:31 PM
    If the loft is unsafe, and the lodger is injured or killed, you could be held criminally responsible eg


    * flooring not adequate for weight of furniture and person;
    * access not fire-safe
    etc etc
    • diggingdude
    • By diggingdude 10th Jul 18, 9:39 PM
    • 429 Posts
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    diggingdude
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 18, 9:39 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 18, 9:39 PM
    Sure its only a lodger that is being put in danger, not like they are human beings is it? Wonder what would happen if they found out, got annoyed and reported your dodgy dealings to the council (a good council that is, not the one I work at where the complaint would wait 6 months to be ready)
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    • G_M
    • By G_M 10th Jul 18, 10:44 PM
    • 45,910 Posts
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    G_M
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 18, 10:44 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 18, 10:44 PM
    ..... (a good council that is, not the one I work at where the complaint would wait 6 months to be ready)
    Originally posted by diggingdude
    I think they're all so cash-strapped they're all much the same....
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 10th Jul 18, 11:22 PM
    • 4,173 Posts
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    gettingtheresometime
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 18, 11:22 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 18, 11:22 PM
    No. You should insure the property as a 3 bed to be on the safe side.

    Recently there was a case where a family home burnt down and insurers refused to pay, it was declared as a 5 bed but in actual fact was a 7 bed, the two loft rooms not have BR approval IIRC.
    Originally posted by paddyandstumpy
    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-5550933/Our-house-burnt-insurer-refused-pay-said-7-bedrooms-not-five.html
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    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 11th Jul 18, 1:07 AM
    • 5,349 Posts
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    Kynthia
    You need to follow what your insurer defines as a bedroom when it comes to buildings insurance. Ask them and put the response in writing back to them just in case.

    I wouldn't risk letting the room without some kind of documentation saying it's safe to be occupied. Entering into a business transaction means you can be sued should anything happen and you have a duty of care, so you may need to evidence that you weren't doing anything wrong. Perhaps a surveyors report of the room would suffice, if it was positive.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 11th Jul 18, 1:45 AM
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    deannatrois
    If you really wanted to rent a room out, I'd rent out the main bedroom and sleep in the loft.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 11th Jul 18, 6:34 AM
    • 26,649 Posts
    • 96,063 Thanks
    Davesnave

    When I move in I am hoping to rent out the loft space, but was wondering whether you have any knowledge about the legality of this?

    Finally, when I move in I would like to get a quote on getting approval for the loft (which was apparently converted by the council in the 1970s) but not sure whether getting a quote would mean I would be obliged to go ahead with the work, as it will be inhabited?
    Originally posted by RositaF
    You are intending to play fast and loose with fire safety regulations, which is why people are being unsympathetic. Putting a lodger in a roof space without a means of egress other than the stairway would be unwise and probably illegal.

    As to building regs, we are a long way from the 1970s, sadly, so what was deemed appropriate then for height or floor strength might not be seen as adequate now,

    There could be very good reasons why this loft has not been converted to habitable space. Although you have managed to get money off the house price, it may be uneconomic to alter the roof space to meet the regulations now in force.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 11-07-2018 at 10:19 AM.
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    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 11th Jul 18, 9:28 AM
    • 9,075 Posts
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    davidmcn
    Your buildings insurance won't cover you for certain sorts of claims if the loft is occupied, but doesn't have BR approval. You really don't want to find out when it is too late that the event that has happened isn't covered by your insurance.
    Originally posted by tacpot12
    This keeps on being trotted out but never with any authority to back it up, and I've never seen an insurance proposal form asking about BR approval (and you'd think they would ask the question if they actually cared).

    There are millions of houses which either lack BR approval for alterations or for the original construction of the whole house (such as the 1880s one I live in), but they're insurable.

    If the loft was converted in the 1970s and has been used as a habitable room for a similarly long period (not clear whether the last bit is the case) then I don't see a problem. If of course it looks like a deathtrap (irrespective of whether you have a bit of paper from 40+ years ago saying it's fine) then you ought to sort that out.
    Last edited by davidmcn; 11-07-2018 at 9:30 AM.
    • A Nice Englishman
    • By A Nice Englishman 11th Jul 18, 10:02 AM
    • 2,135 Posts
    • 1,194 Thanks
    A Nice Englishman
    I'm a bit surprised to hear that a Council did a conversion like that. I thought they would have been more likely to rehouse a tenant requiring additional space. Could the conversion have been done unofficially? They might still have the paperwork. Whether they'd be willing to look for it in their archives is another matter but it would be interesting to see it.

    Personally, I'd find out how much it would cost to make the loft compliant with today's BRs and compare that with the cost of buying a 'proper' three bedroom house before proceeding with the purchase (assuming I wasn't already committed to buy).
    Last edited by A Nice Englishman; 11-07-2018 at 10:27 AM.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 11th Jul 18, 8:13 PM
    • 5,701 Posts
    • 7,989 Thanks
    deannatrois
    You should have seen a 4 bed council house I lived in some years ago. The loft was simply divided up by concrete blocks with a ceiling added. The blocks didn't even go up to the rafters. No insulation til I put some in so the room froze in the winter. No idea when it was created.
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