Should lack of Buildings regs approval put me off buying a property?

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    Should lack of Buildings regs approval put me off buying a property?

    Hi, just wanted a sounding board for a query thats come up. i am a long way down the line with buying a property and the vendor has been dilatory in providing the answers to certain enquiries raised by my solicitor. Finally today they delivered a bunch of documentation, but one thing that is still missing is the certificate of building regs approval for a loft conversion that was done in 2014. the work was done under permitted development but a certificate of lawfulness was obtained from the local planning authority.
    The vendor now wants to move to exchange. My solicitor has advised they have asked them to provide either the building regs approval or an indemnity policy to cover the lack thereof. i understand the latter only covers expenses not rectification work, but since the conversion has now been there for 4+ years it is too late for the local authority to serve a s36 notice on the owner. However, this property is costing a significant amount of money and i am nervous about entering into the transaction of there is a doubt - i suspect the building regs approval was never obtained.

    what would the forum members do if you were in my shoes.

    #2
    If the loft conversion has no BR certificate then 'legally' it can't be used as living accommodation, ie as a bedroom and can't be described as such. It can be used for recreation, work, storage, etc. That may affect its valuation and usefulness to you.
    I'd be pressing the vendor for a BR assessment to see what needs to be done to gain a certificate.

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      #3
      It may be possible to get the certificate retrospectively, but the difficulty with that is some of the critical items may have been hidden by later parts of the construction. Done properly, they would have been inspected before being covered up. The seller should do this.

      It is worrying the number of builders that will collude to avoid building regulations, or even wrongly advise that they are not needed.

      Note, even when building regulations approval is given for conversions, it was common for owners to immediately commit a criminal offence by disabling closers on fire doors.

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        #4
        Would you have bought property if you were told loft space could only be used as storage, which it seems to be all it can be used for in legal terms. If so im sure you would have wanted a discount. Relative did own conversion with builder mates in a bungalow few years back as it was their forever home. Till they had another child few years later, with BR they would have got another 25k on sale price as it had to be classed as storage when selling it sold for less. Id be after a discount if they have classed it as a bedroom on sales packages when in effect its just storage and one bedroom less

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          #5
          Update - apparently the vendors claim that the conversion was "fully inspected" throughout the construction but they just never obtained the final certificate. They have apparently contacted the local authority to try and obtain a copy. My lawyer says its all academic now because i can't get indemnity insurance since the council are now on notice, so nothing can happen with the purchase now until they either get the certificate or get retrospective planning permission as the mortgage company won't advance funds without it.
          I'm beginning to wish i never got into this transaction in the first place

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            #6
            Planning permission and building control are different things. They might need planning permission, if they added windows.

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              #7
              sorry that was my sloppy thinking. I meant retrospective buildings control certification

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                #8
                My son knowingly bought a house with a loft conversion with no BR Certificate but the house was advertised and sold as 2-bedroom only and not 3-bedroom (ie not including the loft conversion) and his intention is to get it inspected including opening up ceilings, floors and roof and adding fire doors, etc and achieving BR requirements and the certificate.
                This additional cost was factored into his buying price and should give him an instant increase in property value when completed.

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                  #9
                  The seller may ask a local surveyor to issue a certificate to confirm whatever is missing or alternatively you withdraw from the purchase of the property or offer a lower price to cover the risk.

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