Don’t be in the dark when it comes to your loft!

We are buying a house and mentioned to our Solicitors in Preston, AMS Solicitors that the loft has been boarded out and that a small conservatory had been put up at the back. As a result my conveyancing solicitor has the sellers’ solicitor for evidence that building regulation approval was obtained. The sellers’ have just said they don’t know and anyway it was done many years ago. The seller even phoned us up directly and said she’ s being picky and told us to forget about it. Is my conveyancing solicitor being picky?


Building regulations are complicated on both these points and you have to bear in mind that your conveyancing solicitor has to satisfy your mortgage lender’s requirements as well as your own. If your conveyancer does not satisfy your lender, AMS Solicitors in Preston will get the blame if there is later a problem. Therefore your conveyancing solicitors’ queries are fully justifiable.


Was approval necessary for the loft? Well if it has been boarded out was it for storage or living space? Any combination of lighting, fixed stair cases, windows or plastered walls will indicate a conversion and approval is likely to have been required. If it is just been boarded out and there’s a retractable loft ladder then it is probably exempt. There are specific limits and conditions that dictate whether the conversion is considered to be allowable under permitted development and these are available at

www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects.


So what about the conservatory? Similarly approval won’t be required provided the floor area doesn’t exceed the set limits for single storey rear extensions, which apply between 30th May 2013 and 30th May 2019, all of which are also available on the planning portal link above. It is worth bearing in mind that to be a ‘conservatory’, it must be at least 75% glazed and have a translucent roof. It must use an existing entrance e.g. patio door, and it must self-contained – so if the heating system has been piped through from the house approval will be needed. It is important that your conveyancing solicitor checks all of these things via raising enquiries and carrying out searches through the local authority. If you buy without checking these issues then the local authority can force you to de-construct it, so ultimately it’s you who will inherit the problems. Generally there’s a four year period after which they are time barred for a breach of building works, or ten years for anything else (which would include a change of use for a loft).


Don’t forget, these rules exist to make sure your building is properly built and safe. I’m sure you would reconsider the position if someone died in the loft as a result of a fire that could have been prevented by complying with the regulations.

We would therefore agree with your conveyancing solicitor and the enquiries they are raising with the sellers’ solicitors.


AMS Solicitors in Preston offer a friendly and professional residential conveyancing service, taking the stress of buying or selling your property. They are residential conveyancing solicitors in Preston who offer quick conveyancing and competitive Conveyancing fees.

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