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Selling House No Building Reg's for 3rd Bedroom (Was sold to us as 3)


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Firstly apologises if this is in the wrong section.

 

We purchased our first house almost 2 years ago, advertised by the Estate Agent as a Three Bedroom and with the blurb stating "...en suite to the master bedroom and converted attic/bedroom three...."

 

Our solicitors did not raise any concerns and we thought everything was fine.

 

Fast forward two years and due to circumstances we are now looking to sell the property, the Valuator for the Estate Agent asked if we had the completion certificate for the loft conversion.

 

I called the Council to request this...nothing.... no details.... no planning.... no building regs put in....nothing.

 

As such it should not be legally marketed as a 3 bed and thus the value will be reduced because of this.

 

Do we have any rights? Do we take it up with the Estate Agent or Solicitors?

 

I am waiting for a call back from the Solicitor now....

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You'll find that most estate agents will be happy to advertise your house as 3 bedrooms.

However they should also state that no completion certificate is present.

I bought my house with a bodged up loft conversion, knowing that it was built with no permission or building regs.

Before buying I employed a structural engineer who confirmed the roof was safe but the loft floor joists needed replacing to comply with regulations.

Once in I did this and made the conversion habitable.

I understand that many people will walk away from something not built properly, but it doesn't harm to put the house on the market and see if someone is interested at the price you ask.

Of course they need to be made aware of the non compliance.

To answer your question, it will be very difficult to get any compensation, unless you have proof that the house was advertised as 3 bedroom and you have been deceived.

The estate agent and solicitor could say that you have converted the loft yourself (!?!?)

IMO is worth being honest with buyer and see if you can let someone else deal with registering the conversion as legal.

To have a better chance to sell you could get a structural engineer report proving that all is safe (if it is).

It costs about £1000.

Good luck!

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You'll find that...

 

Many thanks for your reply, I do in fact have proof of the original advert stipulating the 3 bedrooms and the loft conversion. I have no recollections of ever being informed by the agent or my Solicitor as to the lack of building regulations.

 

(Zoopla has an archive section with oast sales and adverts etc)

 

Does this change things?

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Did you have the house surveyed before buying,If so did they not mention this to you.

 

I'm afraid we did not have the survey only the valuation one done by the mortgage company. :(

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We have had two valuations...

 

One says it isn't an issue and they will let people know...

 

One says it can't be marketed as a 3 bed but we might have issues with a Surveyor anyway...

 

Though it all passed the Surveyor / Valuation for our mortgage?!?

 

Now I'm confused....

 

Still waiting on the Solicitor to call however....

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The lack of Certificate should have been raised at the time of sale/purchase I think. Why was no survey done.. wasnt it around that time a House Buyers Report needed to be completed ?

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The lender's survey only makes sure that in case of repossession they can get their money back by selling the house.

If the house is purchased for £200k and you have a deposit of £40k, they will pass the survey 99.9% of the times without even entering the property.

You have the original advert and that's a good thing.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but for the past few years I've seen a disclaimer at the bottom of every advert where estate agent wash their hands and suggest a full survey is conducted.

Solicitors searches do not include things that have not been declared and internal modifications.

So you could knock down a supporting wall inside your house, redecorate and sell the house without the solicitor knowing.

A full survey is always the best option if unsure of anything.

I doubt in your case you could claim from estate agent or solicitor, but I might be wrong; the experts here will surely help.

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The lender's survey only makes sure that in case of repossession they can get their money back by selling the house.

If the house is purchased for £200k and you have a deposit of £40k, they will pass the survey 99.9% of the times without even entering the property.

You have the original advert and that's a good thing.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but for the past few years I've seen a disclaimer at the bottom of every advert where estate agent wash their hands and suggest a full survey is conducted.

Solicitors searches do not include things that have not been declared and internal modifications.

So you could knock down a supporting wall inside your house, redecorate and sell the house without the solicitor knowing.

A full survey is always the best option if unsure of anything.

I doubt in your case you could claim from estate agent or solicitor, but I might be wrong; the experts here will surely help.

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The lack of Certificate should have been raised at the time of sale/purchase I think. Why was no survey done.. wasnt it around that time a House Buyers Report needed to be completed ?

 

Unfortunately we got burnt paying out lots for surveys on other houses which the lender ended up not even agreeing to lend on, I think we were dismayed by them and out of pocket a fair bit by then and everything 'looked' OK on this house.

 

First Time Buyer mistakes I know.

 

I did still expect the Solicitor to pick something up, I mentioned it to one of the other Estate Agents and they thought they should too and the original Estate Agent mis-represented it.

 

However they thought the price we paid even for a 2 bed house was reasonable so we might not have an argument based on paying to much or lose of profit selling...

 

Do we think it will stop lenders giving mortgages on the property? If someone likes it they will want it anyway I guess?

 

It might put some off but I'm not sure it is worth the extra to make good.

 

Can I make it clear I am not looking to cover it up and plan to tell people what they are getting otherwise I am no better eh?

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Thank you all for your information and details, I will have a re-read through all the paperwork this weekend and double check all the details.

 

I am yet to receive a call back from the Solicitor.

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depends when the conversion was done as building regs changed a while ago so if done before that date it can be described as 3rd bedroom quite properly. you would need to be able to show somehow that it was converted before the change in regs but how is down to what info you have.

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Even before planning portal was introduced, a loft conversion had to be done under building notice.

That's always been the case because roof needs to be alternatively supported and floor joists replaced usually to 8 or 9 inches, accordingly to structural engineer report.

Of course every conversion will have different construction figures to make the space comply to standards and make it habitable.

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No reg change that would have affected a loft conversion, structural and fire regs to be complied with at all times; planning would only be applicable if the exterior was changed, windows etc.

Your solicitor would have sent a standard questionnaire to the vendor asking certain questions relating to the property, which should have included ones about any alterations and planning and building control compliance; Now if the vendor filled these in incorrectly, you or the solicitor should have picked this up.

It really depends on what checks were undertaken at the time, did the Solicitor act with due diligence and duty of care, or did the vendor mislead them!

either could be subject to compensation, but would be costly to claim.

Have to see how solicitor responds to see where you go from here.

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