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Lack of building regulations approval? Tips for sellers

A property legal expert is giving her top tips on what to do if a lack of the correct building regulations approval is slowing down a property sale.

Building regulations approval is required for a wide variety of work, from building an extension to installing cavity wall insulation.

Zara Zaman, residential conveyancing executive at regional law firm Napthens, explains that approval is usually carried out by a local authority’s building control services or an inspector.

Some types of work such as a boiler installation can be self-certified, with others needing an authorized installer to act as a ‘competent person.’

Where full plans approval is needed, plans and details of the work are submitted to the local authority which monitors the work. For smaller work, a building notice may be submitted once the work has completed, and the authority will issue a completion certificate following final inspection.

If a building contravenes building regulations, a local authority can take enforcement action which might include an injunction or even prosecution.

Where approval has not been obtained, Blackburn based Zara explained there is action that can be taken to ensure a sale is not significantly affected.

She said: “There are three main options for a seller if building regulations approval has not been obtained.

“The seller can apply for a regularisation certificate for building works which required building regulations at the time and which were carried out on or after November 11, 1985. However, the seller runs the risk of the local authority requiring remedial works to be carried out.

“An indemnity insurance policy can be also be taken out, to provide cover for risk of enforcement action being taken by a local authority and covering the legal cost of defending it. This is usually the quickest route and the cost is usually covered by the seller.

“Finally, if the work was carried out more than 12 months ago, a seller could state that the enforcement period has passed so an authority cannot take enforcement action. This option is at the buyer’s discretion.”

Contact a member of the residential conveyancing team if you would like further information.

Zara Zaman conveyancing blackburn