Buying house with loft conversion – 2 or 3 bed?

by Readers Question

9:38 AM, 2nd June 2020
About a month ago

Buying house with loft conversion – 2 or 3 bed?

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Buying house with loft conversion – 2 or 3 bed?

Hi Everyone, I am going to buy a house in Manchester. I made an offer which is already accepted and now I have passed the details to the conveyancer for the searches etc etc. I have not made any payment yet for anything.

Now I have just found this house was advertised as three bedrooms and third bedroom is a loft conversion. In the subject & key features of the add on Rightmove it was saying it’s a three-bedrooms house and then with in full description of the advert says “This two/three bedroom terrace property is well presented and spacious”

So, when I enquired about the loft conversion from the seller, He told me that he got this property via Probate after the death of his sister. He does not have any documents about the loft conversion (regarding planning permissions or any other council approval etc.. ). He even does not know when the conversion was done. He also told me that she bought the house in 1995.

So officially it is a two-bedroom house as confirmed by the property agent too, but they did advertise it as three-bedroom House, which is strange

I am not sure; how can it affect me in the future to buy the house with an existing loft conversion but without having any documents related to it. Though I am the cash buyer and it should not be a big problem, but I am thinking from the perspective while re-selling the house in the future.

Please advise, what should I do in this scenario and how I can cover myself legally from any concern or query by the council or building regulations department in the future.

Thanks in advance

Kashif



Comments

Dylan Morris

10:25 AM, 2nd June 2020
About a month ago

This is a very common problem. If it doesn’t have planning permissions and building regs approval it cannot be classed as a third bedroom. (If renting then you shouldn’t allow a tenant to occupy it as a bedroom). Speak to the local authority and see what they say. Perhaps possible to get retrospective permission ? If not then you should only value the house as a two bed with some storage area and your purchase price needs to reflect this. And yes you will have a problem selling it as a three bed (rather than a two bed) in the future without the relevant paperwork.

acctsol

11:41 AM, 2nd June 2020
About a month ago

this comes down to how much you want the house and possibly be a bargaining chip to knock a couple of grand off the original offer.

dependent on whether the work was done correctly, a building surveyor should easily ascertain whether the building & loft conversion are structurally sound and if building regs have been complied with you can at any time approach the council to obtain a certificate of lawfulness.

without this certificate your eventual buyer will be in exactly the same position as you are now, having to decide whether they want to go ahead with the purchase or renegotiate or pull out.

In my experience, and as long as the property stacks up from an investment point of view i usually take a pragmatic approach. There are indemnity insurances which cost a few ££ (less than £50) which your solicitor can ask the buyer to pay for.

alternatively to put your mind at rest i would buy through a mortgage to check if property is mortgeable as these things will usually come out from the valuation.

good luck with your purchase

blair

21:01 PM, 2nd June 2020
About a month ago

Be very careful here!! The vendors story is fishy. There are strict fire regs/building regs that should of been complied with plus planning consent. If its more than a one room loft Building region regarding fire escape are stricter

Building Reg breaches strangely aren't enforceable after one year and planning after 4 years BUT you could be buying into problems that a building surveyor inspection won't cover things he can't see nor is he a structural engineer.
Whoever did the work would of known that it needed PP and regs - they choose do ignore the law, what else they done?

Trish

22:13 PM, 5th June 2020
About a month ago

Be very careful. I bought such a house, and told the tenants not to use the top floor as a bedroom as it didn't seem to meet building regs (dodgy stairs, roof height etc). All was well until tenant moved boyfriend in and whilst I was visiting them to find out why he had threatened a tradesman I'd sent (with their permission) to do a job there, discovered that there were two children sleeping in the attic. I told them they shouldn't be there, boyfriend said if the house wasn't safe I shouldn't be renting it out, and he was going to report me to the council, which he did. The council issued a notice banning the use of the attic room and I was told that if anyone did use it I would be prosecuted, my insurance could be invalidated etc. Was a nightmare because obviously I couldn't police the tenant's use of the room. Had a quote for £17,000 to regularise the conversion, so that wasn't an option. It caused problems when I came to sell it too, and I ended up having to pay someone to remove the stairs, board it up and install a roof ladder. Was very stressful, to put it mildly!

kkj85

0:28 AM, 8th June 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by blair at 02/06/2020 - 21:01
Should I also ask the seller to reduce the price as there is no complete paperwork?

I also searched the land registry by putting the same postcode and found the houses sold on the same road during the last 7 months, their sold prices were much lower then I am offering for the current property.
There is roughly 25k price difference...I am too much confused.

Should I pass the reference about those prices to the seller to get the price adjusted accordingly.?


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