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Buying a house that's extended-no PP-regularisation cert?

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by jhall8, 25 Jul 2010.

  1. jhall8

    jhall8

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    hi all,

    I'm hoping that someone can give us some much needed help and advice!

    We are in the process of buying a house - got to the week we were due to complete when our solicitor advised us that she was still awaiting replies from the vendor's solicitor regarding some extensions on the property and the relevant planning permissions.

    It turns out that there is no planning permission for the extensions, and that it appears that there has been some re-modelling on the ground floor (stairs maybe moved, walls moved).

    We had a homebuyers report done, that mentioned these things (in a one-liner), but raised no concerns about stability/integrity of the build, however when our solicitor rang the surveyor to discuss, he told her that if it was him buying the house he would make sure there was regularisation certificate from Building Control to cover the works.

    I spoke to BC who told me a full plan would need to be submitted, they would need to drill trials in the foundations and ensure that no services/utilities had been covered by the extensions.

    The extensions were done approx. 18-20 years ago (prior to current vendor having the house), and there have obviously been no problems. The vendor has since had a builders report doen which states that the work is satisfactory and sound.

    We are not disputing the workmanship nor the integrity of the building, just how the lack of planning permission will afect resaleability should we move on.

    The extensions are not huge, and may well have fallen within permitted development, but the vendor has no paperwork to prove anything. The HIP shows a search on Building regs approvals and completions but only goes back to 2002.

    Firstly, if you were in my position, would you proceed without regularisation cert?

    Secondly, is it possible to search building records earlier than 2002 (I mean you would have hoped the solicitors would od this bit but apparently not!), and where would I go to look?

    Long post, I know, but any help REALLY appreciated!!

    Thanks,
     
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  3. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    With respect to Planning, provided the extensions were carried out longer than 3 years ago you will be imune from any prosecution. However a future buyer (that buys the house when you are eventually selling) may be more sceptical and more nervous so you may wish to think about that.

    With regards to Building Regs, as the works were carried out 18 years ago and presumably there are no obvious problems you can probably assume that there are not likely to be although further investigation would be required to find out if services have been built over or similar.

    With regards to contacting Building Control, they should be able to tell you if any applications have been made on the property at all although they may make a small charge for searching through their archives though.

    Now here's the Killjoy! If you think you will ever want to do any works on the property that require Building Control Approval and (rightly so) want to get Building Control involved have a thorough read through this thread: http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=233509&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 especially Disco Shoes's (the original poster) first post on the second page!

    Essentially if you do want to do any notifiable work Building Control may expect you to get the previously carried out works legalized!
    Nobody can really tell you what to do, everyone is different, if you're a bit of a chancer in life fill your boots, if you get sleepless nights because the waterboard have sent you a bill for £200 then probably best to stay away.
     
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  4. jhall8

    jhall8

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    Thanks for the reply. I have read Disco Shoes thread - terrifying and so unfair!

    Initially, I had bounced it back through our solicitor to the vendor and said if he gets the regularisation cert sorted then our offer will still stand. However, the vendor is just NOT the type of guy to actually put any effort in at all!!

    I think I'll sound it out with my solicitor tomorrow and she what she advises.

    I think I tend to err on the side of caution so it's unlikely we'll be taking a punt without the reg cert.
     
  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    I dare say a few other regulars will be along today or tomorrow to post their two pennies worth too.
     
  6. jeds

    jeds

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    This comes up constantly on building surveys. The fact is, if the works are 18 years and are stable and not about to fall down, then the only thing you need to be concerend about is that the same issue might come up when you come to sell the house. What that means is that there is a small percentage of people who wouldn't be happy buying the place and this slightly reduces its value.

    Therefore, as long as you pay a price that reflects that situation then you can't really lose. If your worried about local authority enforcment etc. (which you needn't be but who knows, you might be one of those people that keeps an eye on your shadow in case it attacks you) then ask the vendor to provide an indemnity insurance against it.

    Alternatively you could negotiate with the vendor to reduce the price by the cost of you obtainining your own regularisation. Personally, if I did manage that, I'd then go on holiday. But you could get it all sorted and move on to worrying about something else.
     
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  7. spongobongo

    spongobongo

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    It's four years Freddy. A rare lapse for you ;)
     
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  9. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    What can I say, I'm almost perfect! :p
     
  10. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Well I think the contents of the linked thread in my first post should be something that's at least considered jeds.
     
  11. jhall8

    jhall8

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    Argh! Talk about conflicting advice. It seems I may be one of those people that are scared of shadows attacking that you mention!!

    Thanks all for your reponses - all useful info.

    I know it might seem that we are being super cautious - it's just that the purchase of this property has been an almighty saga already (first viewed it in Nov last year!!!!), and it's one of those where we've already had so much thrown at us that we're almost thinking that it's fated not to be!

    Thanks again though to everyone.
     
  12. jeds

    jeds

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    I accept it's a factor Freddy but in reality there's nothing the LA can do about it. It's a non issue that simply would not pass the public interest test.

    If the LA tried to pull that sort of trick on me I would have a solicitor write a very threatening letter on the grounds of abuse of power, misuse of public resources, human rights, damages, costs and all the rest of the crap that would make them sh1t themselves. If they have legitmate course of action then fine, get on with it. But if not then who the hell do they think they are holding people to ransom.

    What really ****es me off is that builidng control will frequently approve plans that are woefully inadequate - I'm dealing with just such a case right now - whilst digging their pathetic little heels in the ground on matters like this that have absolutley no consequence whatsoever.

    Come the revolution.
     
  13. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Yes I suspect you are right legally speaking however it really depends on the homeowner and their nous.
     
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