Can the loft conversion still be used as a bedroom?

by Readers Question

9:33 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Can the loft conversion still be used as a bedroom?

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Can the loft conversion still be used as a bedroom?

We are about to buy a 3-bedroom house plus a loft conversion completed over 16 years ago with no regulations. The owners did not do the loft conversion, and we think they are struggling to find any signed off building regulation documents. It has a proper staircase, door and two windows.

The mortgage is fine and has classed it as 3 bed plus a loft conversion, but my question is even if it is not signed off as a bedroom, can it still use it as a bedroom? My thoughts are, it’s our house we can use it how we want?

What about insurance purposes? We will still only be using 3 rooms as bedrooms and the box room downstairs as an office.

Many thanks

Isobel

 

 


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Comments

Smartermind

10:13 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

My thoughts would be to get the correct building regulations so it can officially be classified as a bedroom.

CazT

10:17 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I would agree with smartermind. Should you ever wish to sell that may become a difficulty. Plus, you don’t know if it’s structurally safe regarding joists and whether or not doors, stairs, windows etc are up to code. Better to get building control involved.

April

10:25 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Great news is that once you've done that work the property will be classed as a 4 bedroomed property with any price uplift attached to that designation by future mortgage valuers.

Marlena Topple

10:35 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

If it was me I would want a structural survey on the house to satisfy myself the work has been done to a good standard. If the extension is not properly insulated it will not be comfortable to use as a bedroom during cold/warm spells. You will need to consider safety aspects like if/how the fire service could get a ladder or cherry picker to the occupant/s in case of fire, room height in relation to stairs, etc.

Kate Mellor

10:37 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

The current owners can always contact building regs and ask for the relevant information. They can determine whether an application was made at all and whether it was ever issued a completion certificate. If it has been applied for and not had its final inspection it is possible for an inspection o be carried out now and a certificate issued. We’ve done this a few years ago and it was easy enough. This will at least put your mind at ease as to the structural soundness. The information would normally be available on the planning portal, but I’m not sure how far back the computerised records go.

Puzzler

10:38 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

if there are any documents, would your council not have them? if not, they can be asked to sign off now?

JohnCaversham

10:52 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Certificate of Lawful use for planning, for use as a habitable room you will need to conform to building regs for fire, so you will need fire doors, 1hr fire ratings for escape routes ceilings walls, and mains powered interlinked smoke detectors..Your local council building control officers are usually very helpful and are there to help not hinder so all very do-able. Get a builder or architect to take a look and make sure nothing structural is awry first though. Common one is removal of loft roof braces in order to create the space with no or, insufficient bracing added back in but sounds like that would have been picked up in the buyers val..,Has thermal insulation been added to 16yr old spec, all that sort of thing..?

Carol

11:40 AM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I bought a house with a large loft room and proper staircase that had been there since the original build circa 1950's. The thought was that it would be simple to add a dormer to improve the space and light to use as a bedroom. It turned out to be as costly as a full loft conversion as the joists were considered not strong enough to use as a bedroom. Structural survey, RSJ's, insulating between party walls, insulating roof meant replacing the roof, etc, etc were required to meet building regs. Get it surveyed so you know what you are up against

Chris Coyle

14:35 PM, 11th November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Smartermind at 11/11/2020 - 10:13
Mandatory requirements that need addressed are well covered in the previous replies; mandatory requirements for 2020 will have moved on since the actual loft was converted 16 years ago so you will find that should the conversion not comply then it likely will be costly to upgrade. If you choose not to engage with the local authority minimum requirements & wish to use it as a habitable room then you still need to make sure (for your own peace of mind) it is FIRE safe (compartmentation, fire alarms, escape route(s) that comply) and SAFE safe (stairs & structure & electrics & CO detectors) with no unhealthy built elements (like asbestos, no ventilation). Get a competent builder to price up these potential fixes and S.Eng quotation to do a retrospective survey/ quotation to put right (if needed). Then take your informed view on engaging with the local authorities to meet their requirements and using it as a habitable room (bedroom). (30+ Yrs Architectural Designer)

. .

10:04 AM, 14th November 2020
About 2 weeks ago

I may have had a lucky escape here as my sale of a 2 bed plus loft room fell through.

I was told and would be interested to know for future that as there was a fixed staircase and sufficient headroom I could advertise it as a 3 bed for rentals, but not if I was to sell it or have it valued.

As my strategy is buy and hold, other than getting more cash out when refinancing I did not see this as a problem..

Have I been fed a porkie?

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