Changes at flat without permission and potential sale

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    Changes at flat without permission and potential sale

    Hello, I'm looking for some advice re the best way forward please. I have been renting a flat i used to live in. I am now considering selling. Since being a landlord I have become more aware of my responsibilities and have done EIRC etc and flat is in good order throughout. When I moved into what was my first home I got some works done without formal permission - a bathroom and new window and door to balcony. I mistakenly thought I could rely on tradesmen to ensure all above board and advise re any regulations etc. I dont have a fensa or certass form. I did speak to the head of the management agency about the bathroom and he said as long as nothing looks different from the outside it will be fine but I have nothing in writing. I don't recall mentioning the window but he has vistited the flat a few times and has seen the bathroom and window and said nothing. The bathroom did involve removing just part of an internal wall to open out a loo and bathroom into one leaving a wall nib rather than full wall.

    I don't know if and how this work will be discovered and what the potential risks/implications are.

    I would rather not but will of course pay reasonable fees as necessary. My husband is getting annoyed as he thinks I'm worrying about nothing. His view is say nothing and if they discover changes (which he thinks unlikely) deal with it then. The works were done 10-11 years ago and there have been no issues.

    I see see my options as follows:
    *speak to conveyancing solicitor for advice and potentially take out insurance against the works without permission and lack of fensa ( can I get impartial advice or are they obliged to reveal what I tell them to certain parties?)
    *speak to my managing agent and just explain I didn't realise I needed written consent from them and ask for advice on best next steps ( will this remove the option to have insurance as I understand speaking to the council about this will. )
    *get permission to add new window/door and get it replaced now with permissions and fensa
    *say nothing/don't disclose and deal with issues only if they arise which is unlikely as the work was done so long ago and is sound - this is what my OH wants me to do and I feel like I can't talk to him about it.
    *dont put on market yet, re-rent and spend next few months looking into this/sorting

    I am prone to over thinking and worrying about things and as I can't speak to my husband I'm finding this very stressful. I'd be really grateful for any help and advice re the simplest way forward. I worry that if I speak to the wrong person first I will open a can of worms and it could cause problems at home.


    I agree with your husband.


      When you sell you are supposed to declare things officially and there are forms like sellers property information forms see here :

      I would speak to your conveyancing solicitor there may be a way around it with insurance. Someone else here may know more about this.


        I don't think the main issue would be planning permission, after this amount of time that's probably not an issue, if it ever was.
        The window and door might need permission, but, again, you haven't hidden the changes and there's a time limit after which you should be safe.

        Assuming the flat is leasehold, the problem is more likely to be the freeholder, who would normally have to give permission for such a change.
        If the management company said no permission was required, you should be able to rely on that, though.
        You should be able to rely on the agent having that authority delegated to them by the landlord or they should have told you if it wasn't.

        Building regulation compliance may be an issue, but you can probably insure against that.

        Your husband would have been right a couple of decades ago, but the world has changed and you would have to either conceal the changes or own up to them.
        There's not really a "keep quiet and see if the buyer notices" option any more - you have to make declarations about the property, including whether any changes have been made while you owned the property.
        And if you confirm there have, there will be requests for approvals and guarantees.
        These forms are pretty standard and you can't leave bits of them blank.

        So the obvious question when you're discussing it with anyone is what do they think you are going to write in that section of the declaration form and are you prepared to do what they suggest?

        You can talk to your conveyancer, but their advice will be that you will have to disclose the issues, so there isn't really an option of getting their advice and them then keeping quiet about it.
        You'd have to ask someone else who wasn't then going to be involved in the sale.

        It's going to be a pain in the backside to sort out, but, personally, I'd sort it out in advance - otherwise you're going to have a sale process that takes ages, with buyers deciding to pull out or try and chip you on the price.
        And it won't be any less of a pain trying to sort it after you try and sell it.

        Hopefully, insurance will be possible.

        Or simply tell any prospective buyer that the price is reduced by £x because of the issues with the work.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


          Agree with hubby. Discretion better part of valour here.
          My dad recently tried the honest approach to declare a stud wall he moved 40 years ago until I advised him better and sale went through fine.
          Nobody from the freeholder or managing agent will come and look at the flat during the sale process.


            Section20z I think the issue is whether you are prepared to lie on the forms. Personally I would unequivocally not lie, but some people don't have that ethical approach.


              Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
              Section20z I think the issue is whether you are prepared to lie on the forms. Personally I would unequivocally not lie, but some people don't have that ethical approach.
              I think it's called being economical with the truth, but if being a saint helps you sleep better I'm very happy for you.


                No it's called lying.


                  Thanks for the responses; it's really interesting to get different perspectives. So far the crowd seems to be split 50/50...


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