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Loft room - no build regs

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Areyouhavingagirrafe, 21 Jun 2021.

  1. Areyouhavingagirrafe

    Areyouhavingagirrafe

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    Hi all, I am in the middle of purchasing a 3 bedroom property, plus a loft room (note this is NOT advertised as an extra bedroom). The property is advertised as a 3 bedroom, and the mortgage valuation is based on a 3 bedroom.

    There is no planning or building regs for the loft room, and it has been in place since 2012 (maybe before), and I know this because I have seen it in old rightmove listings.

    The current vendors haven't done anything further to the room; it has a window, carpet, eaves storage, and a fixed staircase. Because of lack of building regs, it is not counted as a habitable room. However, it looks like a habitable room.

    My question is, does the fixed staircase make it a "Habitable" room/ space under Building Regs?
    I have asked my Conveyancer, who has simply said that the Vendors are stating it is used for storage; I have even sent him snapshots of the rightmove listing showing the fixed staircase. Surely the fact that there is a fixed staircase, windows, heating, carpeted etc make it habitable. I am now very nervous about proceeding with the purchase. The works have been in place for nearly 10 years, so not sure about enforcement, but I am concerned also about when I come to sell will this be an issue.

    Anyway, advice gratefully received.
     
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  3. JP_

    JP_

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    if it's advertised as a storage room, then the price should reflect that.
    What does it look like - are all the supports in place? If they removed supports without building control approval, it might not be safe. Of course, 10 years would suggest its OK, but need to consider insurance etc.

    Another risk is if they are putting a premium on the property because of the room and you need to sale later, you might be losing out. Are similar homes without the works selling for the same price?

    You can take out indemnity insurance in case it is not safe, then you are covered. Conveyancer should be able to advise about this.

    I know a property sold near me a few years back and the buyer knocked 25k off the asking price because the loft room was built without building regs.
     
  4. Areyouhavingagirrafe

    Areyouhavingagirrafe

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    Thanks for the response, there are no supports for the roof. It looks like a regular room, with eaves storage. It is priced as a 3 bedroom, but I am being over the odds for it (bouyant market and there is a lot of space elsewhere, ie. garden, groundfloor etc). My Solicitor said they do not accept Indemnity wrt habitable rooms. The issue I have is that the Sellers are calling it "storage" only, but it has a proper fixed staircase. My Solicitor also said I can refer it to my mortgage lender (they did a physical valuation, and assessed on basis of a 3 bedroom house). I am concerned about saleability mainly, I don't think BR can be enforced after such a time period. Structurally, well it is still standing after 10 years.....
     
  5. Areyouhavingagirrafe

    Areyouhavingagirrafe

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    *paying, not being!
     
  6. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    The price of the house is between you and the vendor and is irrelevant. It's not being advertised as a bedroom, has been in place for 10 years, and nothing has collapsed in that time. If you like the house, buy it and enjoy life. Do you really think that a LA is going to come after you for building regs for something done 10 years ago, that is not described as habitable space, and that has been resold in the meantime?

    When you come to sell the house, the position will be exactly the same. You will advertise it as storage space, and prospective buyers will see it and decide whether they like what they see. Why on earth would you involve the mortgage lender? If it's loft storage, it's storage. It's between you and your conscience whether you use it as a habitable space when it isn't.
     
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  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The fitting of a fixed staircase means that it's a loft conversion and it does not matter what the sellers call it. As such it's unauthorised work in terms of the Building Act. The extra storey means extra fire regulations apply.

    Despite it being there for several years, that's no guarantee of structural performance, and the biggest concern is performance in a fire situation - for the structure and the occupants. And enforcement could be taken at any time for life safety issues.

    If you buy it, you will have to notify your insurers of the situation, and if it is not deemed uninsurable, then the risk would normally attract a hefty premium, and maybe either some conditions or exclusions.

    Don't think for one minute that just because you may have bought it, you could sell it just as easily.
     
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  9. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    I'm sure technically woody is correct, but I stand by my opinion that if you like the house I'd buy it, the chances of any come-back are between minuscule and non-existent. Worrying about every what-if is the road to neuroticism; life's too short...:D
     
  10. cdbe

    cdbe

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    My friend had just bought one with a similar DIY nonsense room/study/storage with stairs. Big wedge off the price and she's going to get it redone, I did warn her that it could cost more to sort it out than starting from scratch depending on how much butchering they did.
     
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  11. Areyouhavingagirrafe

    Areyouhavingagirrafe

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    Thanks. I spoke to a family friend yesterday (ex Council Surveyor), and he said the same thing. You have totally hit the nail on the head. I am not going to pull out, simply ask for the correct paperwork (which I am sure they don't have....), and then we are where we are.
     
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