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Buying a house and not convinced that no electrical work has been completed since 2005

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by AndyGF, 13 May 2016.

  1. AndyGF

    AndyGF

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    I was wondering if someone could offer some advice and comments I have on this particular matter.

    To try and cut a long story short, I'm buying a house and the owner has written in the property information form that the house hasn't had any electrical work done on it since 2005. However Google street view possibly tells a different story. There is some electrical conduit running down the side of the house in 2012 but not in 2009. The position of the conduit outside the house relative to two mains sockets inside the house suggests that someone has spurred off the ring main of one socket inside the lounge of the house, routed the cable through the wall, along the exterior of the building via the conduit and back into the house to the spur socket in the lounge. The socket appears to be powering the TV on the wall. I know that the conduit doesn't house something innocent like a TV aerial cable or satellite cable because they enter the building at a different point. So my questions are:

    Assuming it is mains electricity running through that conduit and not something innocent:

    Should they have a certificate for this work?

    And what position am I in if I purchase the property without obtaining this certificate?

    The work looks fairly decent to be fair: someone has routed the conduit in a manner that appears to follows rules and regs. But I don't know if it has been done to the letter. Given that it is metal conduit, I'm assuming it should be earthed too? I also don't know if the appropriate cable has been used.....

    To avoid annoying the owner and keep the exchange smooth I'm tempted to let it go and get it sorted after the sale, but then why should I have to pay for it, and never mind face the possibility of prosecution......?

    Sorry, I'm rambling, but this is causing me an unnecessary headache, and I wouldn't go as far as say as it's causing me worry, but I do know there are substantial fines, and ones that I shouldn't bear the brunt of.

    I do have a surveyor performing a homebuyer's report on the property and have asked them to look into this as far as they can. Obviously they are limited as to what they can do and what they can check for. Personally I want to go and rip the covers off the conduit boxes and see what's inside... but I can't do that either.... I've let my solicitor know my concerns but have asked them to hang fire until I get the report back.


    Thanks
     
  2. If you're at the conveyancing stage, they're not going to tell you to bugger off now. You can either send them a letter, or ask them face to face with a grin, and if they're half decent, they'll just shrug and tell you about it. The solicitors just go through the motions, so no one's going to worry about the lack of a certificate. the homebuyers report is basically useless, and makes sure that there's enough equity for the mortgage company to get their money back. But you didn't do the work, and as long as you take a copy of the streetview pictures, you can prove it was there when you purchased.
     
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  3. flameport

    flameport

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    A minor works certificate should have been provided, or an installation certificate if it was a completely new circuit.
    Even if it did exist, it's likely it has been lost or thrown away by now.
    Either way it makes no difference to anyone.

    Fines and prosecution for what?

    As for paying and sorting - you are assuming that the work is unsafe and will require replacement or repair. It probably won't.
    The same could apply to everything else in the property - the fact it was added after a certain date changes nothing, and the presence or lack of bits of paper doesn't make any difference to anything either.

    They will do nothing other than state 'electrics should be checked by .....' and disclaim all liabilities for pretty much the entire report.
     
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  4. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    I suspect what he was asked about, and answered, is whether any notifiable electrical work has been done since 2005.


    Not notifiable.


    You've done nothing for which you can be fined.
     
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  5. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    Knock a hundred off the price - unless the seller has already done that.
     
  6. dpm_dpmartin

    dpm_dpmartin

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    I think the OP is making a mountain out of a molehill.

    A HomeBuyer Report can be useful if the Surveyor is pointed to certain areas. He might not know anything about electrics, but he can use the traffic light system to provide a warning / heads-up that the purchaser can then use with the Vendor to just find out more... "by the way, the report stated I should check if there's any certificates for the work done in location a" / "the Surveyor said I should find out when the roof was repaired". Always good to brief your Surveyor on what you're keen on hearing about.
     
  7. endecotp

    endecotp

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    Do you like the house? If yes, buy it. If no, don't buy it.

    There is no "electrician police" who will come and prosecute you for buying a house where the previous owner did "unauthorised changes".
     
  8. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Plan B - you can find out for free what all the areas are where you should engage someone who does know something about the subject, and get a proper opinion, and not have to pay some useless charlatan of a "surveyor" to tell you that you should engage someone who does know something about the subject and get a proper opinion.
     
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  10. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    I'd start with an offer to knock thousands off, unless I was really desperate to buy this particular house.

    It's just business.
     
  11. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    When my sister bought her house she was forced to have a survey to get her mortgage.

    I've never seen such a worthless document.

    He missed glaringly obvious issues that even my sister - a first time buyer school teacher with no idea about buildings spotted, and pulled things like a floor to ceiling window in the kitchen "may not be safety glass and should be replaced" despite the glass being etched with a BS number and kite mark. :cautious:
     
  12. stem

    stem

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    I had worthless home buyers survey one too. The inspection mentioned things that I could see, such as the garage doors were rotten and the kitchen units were worn, but missed the fact that the attached garage roof wasn't actually attached to the house, so that water poured in when it rained, and that two of the radiators were corroded through, and had just been turned off at both ends so the leak wasn't visible.

    It also stated that there was insufficient ventilation in the loft, yet when you are up there you can feel the breeze, even on a day that's not windy!

    The best comment was that "the chimneys had been inspected from the ground using binoculars and they could not be seen properly, but due to the age of the property (40 yrs) repairs should be expected.

    The usual get out clause that "our inspector is not an electrician / gas engineer, so he couldn't inspect the wiring or gas installation" was included.

    I did complain and get a refund, along with a letter saying that if I accepted the refund, they would not be liable for anything else that turned up! Fortunately 20 years down the line nothing else has.
     
  13. Echo the husky

    Echo the husky

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    I was in a similar situation last year, they also noted about ventilation in the loft, but it's OK. My house has quite a number of defects, 99% of which were caused by the previous owners. But the house suited me, and is the best I could afford so I bought it. Every house is likely to have at least some issues, and of course unpleasant people will move out just to avoid spending money correcting problems!

    Wiring added would be the least of my worries when buying a property, roof, walls, floor joists are far more important, as major repairs could end up rather expensive.
     
  14. stillp

    stillp

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    When I bought my first house back in the seventies, the building society (Woolwich) commissioned a 'survey', at my expense. The house I was buying was a 4-year old semi, with a garage. I had to have an interview with the BS manager to confirm the mortgage, during which he read out selected parts of the survey report, telling me I couldn't see the whole as it was the BS's property. Among the extracts read out were "there is no garage, as claimer by the buyer" and "the cast-iron guttering is rusty and in need of immediate replacement". I was not pleased, and when I showed photos of the house he told me his surveyor was correct, and I could have photographed any house. The estate agent's details showing the age of the house and garage were also apparently untrustworthy, even though the initial mortgage offer had been arranged through the agent.

    I'd been up half the night with a gum abcess, and had emergency dental surgery that morning, so was dribbling blood all over his office, which didn't help.

    The net result was that they reduced the amount of my loan by 10%, which meant that the money we'd budgeted for furniture had to be added to the deposit on the house, so we moved in with only a bed and a set of kitchen chairs that a relative was throwing out.

    The house I was buying was in Garden Close, a small modern development at the end of Garden Street, which were Victorian terraces. Clearly the so-called 'surveyor' had got the wrong address. I've not used the Woolwich since. :evil:
    Now don't get me started on the Halifax...
     
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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  16. PBC_1966

    PBC_1966

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    These general home surveys seem to be the same the world over, certainly when it comes to electrics. We had one done purely for financing when we moved to our present home last year. On the electrical side, he caught the obvious problem of the standard non-weatherproof receptacle somebody had fitted outside with lamp cord tacked along under the patio door and plugged into the original outdoor receptacle on the other side. But there was no mention of the lash-up buried extension cord to the shed which was plugged into the other half of the same outlet!

    He noted the specific things they have on their list to look for and recommend updating, like no GFCI protection on certain outlets. But as electrical testing is limited to plugging in a three-neon tester and he didn't even remove the panel cover, he completely missed the rather more serious issue of a multi-wire circuit with both breakers on the same pole of the supply.
     
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