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Planning permission and building regulation missing

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  • Planning permission and building regulation missing

    Hi everyone

    We are in the process of buying a 3 bedrooms bungalow and we have just found out that the third bedroom, which is a loft conversion, does not have planning permission and building regulation. This extension was done before the current sellers moved in (2004) and judging on the windows (dated 1993) it is at least 26 years old. It looks more like a bedroom than a loft conversion to be fair. We really like the property but we will only go for it if it is reasonable to do so.

    The lack of planning permission and building regulations raise several issues for us:

    1) There is a risk of law enforcement by the council. Very unlikely but it exists “Under s36 of the Building Act 1984 the local authority must serve the notice within 12 months of completion of the work or else it is time-barred. It may still however obtain an injunction to force the owner to remedy the breach. There is no time-limit on that power.”

    2) If / when we decide to sell in the future, we could have a problem to sell the bungalow as a 3 bedrooms due to the lack of paperwork, which will mean we will end up paying for the price of a 3 bedroom property and sell it as a 2 bedroom one.

    3) A building insurance could refuse to pay out under building policy because of lack of PP and BR

    4) Our building survey should confirm if it complies with Building regulations or more likely points out what needs doing to do so but it won’t be intrusive enough to confirm if the structure, joints, isolation, flooring are safe and adequate.

    From what I have gathered so far there are few solutions

    Indemnity insurance (my solicitor’s recommendation)
    We are not too keen on it as it seems to be very limited, it does not prevent the risk of a law enforcement by the local authority and it only covers the legal costs or fees against such action but does not cover the cost to rectify it which could be significant.

    Try to regularise the planning permission and building regulations

    Planning Permission
    Retrospective planning permission
    According to our solicitor, it is not really an option due to the time the extension was done (not sure about that). Could be a long and complex process the seller might not consider.

    Lawful development certificate of existing use
    I believe this will prevent risk of enforcement but unsure if it would be enough to allow us to sell the bungalow as a 3 bedroom in the future.

    Building regulation
    Certificate of regularisation by Building control
    There are several issues here. It would be difficult to know what exact year the extension was built, If done before 11th November 1985, then no certificate will be provided. If done after, I believe it could be a long and intrusive process which could again be rejected by the seller.

    Building survey
    Best tool to ensure the extension complies with today’s building regs but unsure if this how it would stand with the lack of the original building regulations being granted.

    Any suggestions would be welcome!
    Many thanks


  • #2
    Would anyone know, if under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) or the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) or the estate agent act of 1979, estate agents are not allowed to market a property, let’s say as a 3 bedroom bungalow, if one of the bedroom was a loft conversion with no planning permission and no building regulations?

    If so would you know under what section is it stipulated?
    Thank you