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  • Legal FAQs

    Loft conversion without permissions

    Hi folks, we're currently in the process of buying our second BTL and it's been highlighted by our solicitor that the converted loft (carpeted, plastered and with a roof window but no fixed staircase) does not have the necessary permissions (i.e. Building Control sign off).

    The loft is accessed from a ladder and hatch on the landing and there's isn't sufficient headroom so can't be considered a proper room regardless of work done. It wasn't sold as habitable space but we're being advised to have the vendor (an absent executor) get a letter of comfort from the LA; to indemnify us against any future associated costs for remedial work; or to "take a view" (which, in the context is likely to be proceeding at our own risk, renegotiating the price or withdrawing entirely).

    Anyone got any experience of this or able to offer some wisdom? It's a good house at a decent price, but not so great a deal that we'll proceed at any cost! I've seen costs of around £350 for letter of comfort, but obviously there's a risk involved with that. If it came to it, what value of discount might i reasonably seek to take the property "as is".

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    but you must have known it wasnt a proper loft conversion when you made your offer?

    have you not had a survey?  the only issue here seems whether they have removed struts or prejudiced the roof structure in some other way in which case some renegotiation may be justified.

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    I'm not sure if it's the same in the UK as it is where I am (in France) but thought it worth mentioning anyway that there could be a problem with insurance.  Check if you're (or they're) covered if your tenants use the loft if it's not signed off by building control.

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    Its just  a fancy storage area yes not a bedroom and never will be 

    Get the solicitor to buy an indemnity policy maybe £100

    Get the vendor to pay for it


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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    And see if you can re-negotiate the price down if the seller was passing it off as an extra room/study rather than just a fancy storage area. I know someone who did this so he had a place for his toy railway tracks.

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    JC is right, indemnity policy is the way to go. Of the properties we view with loft conversions, around 90% are converted without consent, usually they have a poorly constructed narrow non-compliant staircase which is more of a problem.

    I dont think you have a legitimate point to re-negotiate price though.

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    Phil Stewardson.

    Stewardson Properties.

    Stewardson Developments Ltd.

    Burson Land Ltd. & Jennings & Gilchreaste Ltd.

    http://www.stewardson.co.uk

    Follow me on twitter - @philstewardson

    I would want to know what alterations had been made to the roof structure.  You may be able to work this out if you can gain access to a neighbouring property’s loft to compare the space and structure, if not then I’d ask for some of the plaster board to be cut away and the timbers inspected by a surveyor.

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