Very old loft conversion

Postby russ_gillespie » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:35 pm


I'm looking for some advice on a situation I am in. Four years ago I purchased a 2 bedroom flat. The flat has an additional 2 bedrooms in the loft space with a staircase leading up from the living room. At the time I bought the flat I was fully aware that the loft space was not only excluded from the lease (i.e. I don't own the space), but also that the conversion was done over 25 years ago without regulations or permission. The sale went through provided the loft space was sealed off from access.

When I bought the flat the rooms were already fully fitted with central heating, light fittings, electrical sockets, and velux windows. Needless to say the two rooms have been well used, and they are simply a massive perk.

I've enquired as to the cost of re-doing the loft conversion to current building regulations, but the cost far outweighs the value added. Beyond that, there is the issue of the space being owned by the freeholder of the building, which is a local management company. The freeholder is fully aware of the situation, by the way.

My question is, am I able purchase the loft space and have the lease changed to accommodate the rooms in their current state? Or, will I be forced to bring the rooms up to current regulations in order to do so?

I seem to remember hearing something about the conversion being done so long ago (25+ years), that it's "written off" and doesn't need to be changed to meet current regs. But that could be absolute rubbish.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Postby welsh brickie » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:19 am

contact your local council and ask to see the planning officer,you may have to apply for retrospective planning,but he is the best person to advise you.If your up front and explain the situtation they can be helpfull.
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Postby xavi99 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:53 pm

For building regulations if the works were undertaken prior to 1985 then the Council cannot entertain a regularisation certificate application. Where works are undertaken without bg regs approval the choices are to revert the area back to its original state or ensure compliance with the regs in force at the time.

You always have the option to comply with todays regs but the thermal insulation standards are massively improved over pre 1985 regs.

I think the issue is what any prospective purchaser would think, and in particular there mortgage company. Unfortunately I think that you need some specialist legal advice.

Good luck

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Postby russ_gillespie » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:12 pm

Thank you xavi that's really helpful. Funnily enough I'm not in the process of selling the flat, and guess what, our buyers' lender doesn't like the rooms in the loft space and so won't lend!

I've been given a ball park figure of between £8000 and £12000 to purchase the loft space from the freeholder, but that doesn't solve the issue of building regs, and may not satisfy the bank.

I'm seriously considering reverting it back to loft space.
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