Tips for Buying Property with Loft Conversions
Properties that feature an old loft conversion are often appealing because of the gained extra space – however, it’s important to always check that the relevant planning permissions and building regulations are in place before going ahead with the purchase.
Do Loft Conversions Need Planning Permission?
Loft conversions need planning permission if they fall outside of the homeowners’ permitted development rights.
Permitted development rights allow homeowners to extend their homes to a particular extent without planning permission. However, there are exceptions to these rights, and these include:
- An extension that goes beyond the set limit
- Alterations to roof space
- Alterations to roof height
Do Loft Conversions Need Building Regulations Consent?
Yes, a loft conversion normally needs building regulations consent.
However, if the loft conversion dates back to before the late 1980s it may have received Building Regulations Approval, but no Completion Certificate. This is because completion certificates were not introduced until this time.
What If There Is No Building Consent On The Loft Conversion?
If the loft conversion should have building regulations approval but doesn’t, there are steps you can take as a potential buyer to safeguard against future problems with the property.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the property. However, make sure you seek advice from a surveyor and conveyancer before making an offer as even if the loft conversion was done a long time ago, the local authority could apply to the High Court for an injunction that requires the alteration or removal of any work carried out without building regulations as there is no time limit on this ability.
It’s worth asking the seller what they’re willing to do about the lack of building regulations consent. For example, the seller might be able to get a Regularisation Certificate from the local authority to provide retrospective consent for the loft conversion if the work was carried out after October 1985. Alternatively, the seller could pay for a Building Regulations Indemnity Insurance Policy – although this wouldn’t cover you for the cost of any repairs that are needed, and may not be acceptable to your mortgage lender. There could also be an issue with your ordinary buildings insurance policy, which may not cover you for fire damage, if the property did not comply with buildings regulations.
Also, depending on the nature of the property you want to buy, if you use the loft room simply for storage rather than as a liveable room, you don’t need permission for this, but again your mortgage lender may have issues with this arrangement.
Helping You To Buy Property With An Old Loft Conversion
We can help you with your property purchase – our residential conveyancing team has extensive experience of helping clients purchase property with old loft conversions.
Whether it’s advice and legal guidance on a specific property with an old loft conversion or complete support throughout the conveyancing process that you’d like, we will ensure the process is efficient and straightforward for you.
To speak to one of our professional conveyancing solicitors about buying property with an old loft conversion, please contact us at our Chorlton office on 0161 860 7123 or email email@example.com or at our Failsworth office on 0161 681 4005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org