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House extension and paperwork

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  • House extension and paperwork

    We are in the process of buying a property with an extension to the side with the ground floor of the extension having the kitchen and above is the master bedroom and en-suite.

    Our home buyers survey listed concerns about the extension and advised we ensure we check all paperwork regarding the extension for approvals and standards etc.

    In various conversations with our conveyancer and the vendors estate agents we have found the following:
    • The extension was built by a previous owner in 1976
    • The vendor wasn't given any paperwork regarding the extension when he moved in a couple of years after the extension was built
    • We have found a document online for the house indicating planning permission was granted for the extension - but no other documents relating to the property
    • A builder has briefly looked at the extension for us and said it looks solid - but also said that even though it is pre-building regs there still should be paperwork indicating it was built safely

    We contacted the council who just stated that their records don't go back that far and that it is pre-building regs. When asked what was in place before building regs the council lady just repeated that their records don't go back that far and hung up on us.

    We are not sure how to proceed, should we expect paperwork confirming the extension is safe or walk away? - but we don't know what kind of paperwork existed before building regs. A lot of online suggestions seem to settle on getting indemnity insurance but as far as I can make out that just covers us in case the council turns up demanding we rip it down or upgrade it (which apparently wont happen any way due to the age of the extension).

    As far as I can see we will need to get another survey - a buildings survey to confirm the structure and materials are all safe and solid and then get indemnity insurance - even though that sounds borderline useless. Of all these costs, what should we expect the vendor to pay? Or as I said before maybe we should walk away...