News Article

How to Make Sure an Inherited Loft Conversion Meets Today’s Standards

17.11.14

If you’ve ever extensively house hunted, you may well have come across a house with a loft that has been ‘converted’ but isn’t necessarily listed in the estate agent’s details as a habitable room. The reason for this will be that the loft conversion hasn’t been completed to a standard that meets modern building regulations. 

 If you want to use the room as a bedroom, study, playroom or the like, it might not be safe to inhabit. If you’re contemplating buying a house with such a conversion, here are some aspects you should consider carefully before signing on the dotted line: 

 When Purchasing a House with an Old Loft Conversion … 

 If you do put in an offer on a house with a loft conversion, the sellers should state whether they have altered or extended the house at all, and provide any necessary certification of the works carried out. Of course, if the work was carried out by an owner prior to them, they may not have this paperwork. 

 If you suspect that a loft conversion doesn’t comply with building regulations, you should instruct your solicitor to check with the local authority whether consent was obtained and whether there is a relevant completion certificate. This will let you know either way whether the conversion you’re dealing with is ‘legal’ or not. 

 What to do if there’s no Consent? 

 If it comes to light that the loft conversion in the property you’re purchasing was done without consent, depending on the age of the works, the council may take enforcement action at a later date. This can be costly, and therefore conveyancing solicitors should advise you to take out an indemnity insurance policy. 

 Alternatively, you could ask the seller to obtain the necessary inspection work from the council, but there may not be time to do this. A surveyor may not be able to pass the work within the timeframe required, and as indemnity policies are usually a fairly modest amount, this may be the most sensible way forward. 

 Buyers should also carry out a full structural survey to make sure the work is not defective or unsafe. 

 Can old Loft Conversions be Brought up to Modern Standards? 

 With the help of a loft conversion specialist, old conversions can often be brought in line with modern standards. They will be able to advise on the structural stability, whether the loft is fire safe, resistant to moisture, has enough noise and thermal insulation and whether the stairway is compliant. They can also guide you through the building regulations application. 

 Obtaining the advice of a specialist is often productive not only because they will be able to advise what work is required, but also because they can help you sort through your loft conversion ideas and see how the room will work for you once the loft is legal. 

 Whether you’re purchasing a house with an old loft conversion, or perhaps already own one, here at Bespoke Lofts we are happy to advise on whether the work carried out is safe. Not only can we bring your property up to scratch, we can make the room habitable for you too.

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