URGENT - help needed with building regs! Tense situation.


E

Eusebius

A close friend is in the process of selling up and moving house and has discovered at the last minute before completion that there is no paperwork from the landlord agreeing to layout changes she made. She believes the changes were submitted years ago in a letter but there is no reply. Changes consist mainly of removing a partition wall between kitchen and living room. It's a small one bedroom flat and you enter directly into the kitchen/diner asit is now, with the partition wall removed.

The potential purchaser wants to use the flat for subletting, and hasn't researched this yet. He is unaware as to whether building regs for sublettingrequire a partition wall between kitchen and living room.

Needless to say the landlord isn't replying to emails and the person who should sort this out is mostly "out of the office" so we're not getting any help there. My friend is on the verge of completion so this situation has tobe solved quickly or the whole sale could fall through. Of course she should have fixed this before, and she feels guilty and highly stressed for notdoing so, but this situation still needs a solution, and a solution that is as simple and financially viable as possible.

One solution could be to put back the wall. The purchaser may agree to the sale on this basis IF it were demanded in the building regs for subletting.

So at this point we need to know ASAP what actually are the building regs for subletting regarding a separate kitchen, entrance through a kitchen and such. Knowing where to find the regs on this would also help.

Can anyone advise or generally come up with any good ideas on this?
 
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S

spuorgelgoog

So at this point we need to know ASAP what actually are the building regs for
subletting regarding a separate kitchen, entrance through a kitchen and such.
Knowing where to find the regs on this would also help.
By subletting I presume you mean renting out a leasehold property.

The potential purchaser should really ask his own solicitor and not rely on the seller's statements (and the seller should be wary about making statements that the buyer might rely on and claim against later).

However:

*Building regs* do not apply any more than they do to a domestic dwelling.

The regulations would be in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/home_safety/hhsrs

If the building classed as a HMO then additional standards apply
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/renting_and_leasehold/sharing_and_subletting/shared_houses_and_flats

Enforcement of the above is usually via the council's Environmental Health dept.

Owain
 
E

Eusebius

Hello Owain!

Thank you very much for your suggestions. You seem to have knowledge of HMOs, which leads usefully on to safety regulations even if this 1 bed flat isn't an HMO itself. If it's true that the building regs are no different fordomestic and rented accommodation, that would also make things clearer.

Is the potential need for an enclosed kitchen part of fire safety regulations? There are so many kitchen/diner open plan flats that this in itself must be permitted. The question may be how this relates to the entrance/exit requirements of a flat.

Does anyone know this, or can help with any other aspects of this thorny problem?
 
J

Jim K

Hello Owain!

Thank you very much for your suggestions. You seem to have knowledge of HMOs, which leads usefully on to safety regulations even if this 1 bed flat isn't an HMO itself. If it's true that the building regs are no different for domestic and rented accommodation, that would also make things clearer.

Is the potential need for an enclosed kitchen part of fire safety regulations? There are so many kitchen/diner open plan flats that this in itself must be permitted. The question may be how this relates to the entrance/exitrequirements of a flat.

Does anyone know this, or can help with any other aspects of this thorny problem?
shurely the buyer (via their solicitor perhaps) should be doing all the enquiring and deciding?

if they decide "no" then your friend will need to find out why (if not already told) and take advice on what to do - Building Control would be a start..

Jim K
 
T

Terry Fields

Eusebius said:
A close friend is in the process of selling up and moving house and has discovered at the last minute before completion that there is no paperwork from the landlord agreeing to layout changes she made. She believes the changes were submitted years ago in a letter but there is no reply. Changes consist mainly of removing a partition wall between kitchen and living room. It's a small one bedroom flat and you enter directly into the kitchen/diner as it is now, with the partition wall removed.
Your friend can't sell what she doesn't own, so one would have to ask
what this landlord thing is all about.

If she bought the place from the landlord, and is now selling it in
her own right, then the landlord surely has no further interest.

If the place belongs to a landlord, she can't sell it.
 
R

Roger Mills

Your friend can't sell what she doesn't own, so one would have to ask
what this landlord thing is all about.

If she bought the place from the landlord, and is now selling it in
her own right, then the landlord surely has no further interest.

If the place belongs to a landlord, she can't sell it.
It might be a leasehold property?

--
Cheers,
Roger
____________
Please reply to Newsgroup. Whilst email address is valid, it is seldom
checked.
 
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T

Terry Fields

Roger said:
It might be a leasehold property?
If there is a valid objection from the landlord, the worst that might
happen is that she'll need someone to put up a suitable (stud
partibion?) wall, or agree with the prospective purchaser to lower
the price so they can have the work done.

It might be an idea for the OP to repost his query
on uk.legal.moderated.
 
L

lilly.g.evans

If there is a valid objection from the landlord, the worst that might
happen is that she'll need someone to put up a suitable (stud
partibion?) wall, or agree with the prospective purchaser to lower
the price so they can have the work done. >>

Thanks for that, Terry. We've discussed this today and what you say looks like the way forward. We've made some draft plans for enclosing the kitchen area.

My friend owns the flat leasehold, and the landlords in question own and manage the building.

The buyer may indeed be willing to take this on if the price were lowered to reflect this. We would have to find some way of making sure, however, that the sale was final if the price were lowered and there was no bite back on any issue.

Keep the ideas coming - positive plans certainly reduce stress!
 
T

Terry Fields

If there is a valid objection from the landlord, the worst that might
happen is that she'll need someone to put up a suitable (stud
partibion?) wall, or agree with the prospective purchaser to lower
the price so they can have the work done. >>

Thanks for that, Terry. We've discussed this today and what you say looks like the way forward. We've made some draft plans for enclosing the kitchen area.

My friend owns the flat leasehold, and the landlords in question own and manage the building.

The buyer may indeed be willing to take this on if the price were lowered to reflect this. We would have to find some way of making sure, however, that the sale was final if the price were lowered and there was no bite back on any issue.

Keep the ideas coming - positive plans certainly reduce stress!
A word of warning....as this involves the legal process of
buying/selling property, I suggest you don't do anything until you
have spoken to your solicitor, hopefully early tomorrow. It is up to
him to get the legal position sorted out and protect your interests.
Only after that, if it becomes necessary, do you need to decide what
to do about any problems. It might not be a good idea to talk to the
prospective buyers about what you see as problems at this stage -
again, your solicitor should advise you on this. Write out a list of
questions to ask him, and ring him early tomorrow.
 
P

Phil L

Eusebius said:
A close friend is in the process of selling up and moving house and
has discovered at the last minute before completion that there is no
paperwork from the landlord agreeing to layout changes she made. She
believes the changes were submitted years ago in a letter but there
is no reply. Changes consist mainly of removing a partition wall
between kitchen and living room. It's a small one bedroom flat and
you enter directly into the kitchen/diner as it is now, with the
partition wall removed.

The potential purchaser wants to use the flat for subletting, and
hasn't researched this yet. He is unaware as to whether building regs
for subletting require a partition wall between kitchen and living
room.

Needless to say the landlord isn't replying to emails and the person
who should sort this out is mostly "out of the office" so we're not
getting any help there. My friend is on the verge of completion so
this situation has to be solved quickly or the whole sale could fall
through. Of course she should have fixed this before, and she feels
guilty and highly stressed for not doing so, but this situation still
needs a solution, and a solution that is as simple and financially
viable as possible.

One solution could be to put back the wall. The purchaser may agree
to the sale on this basis IF it were demanded in the building regs
for subletting.

So at this point we need to know ASAP what actually are the building
regs for subletting regarding a separate kitchen, entrance through a
kitchen and such. Knowing where to find the regs on this would also
help.

Can anyone advise or generally come up with any good ideas on this?
A stud wall will cost about £300 max, don't be knocking thousands off for
what's essentially 2 days for one man and about £100 worth of materials.
 
W

Weatherlawyer

A close friend is in the process of selling up and moving house and has discovered at the last minute before completion that there is no paperwork from the landlord agreeing to layout changes she made. She believes the changes were submitted years ago in a letter but there is no reply. Changes consist mainly of removing a partition wall between kitchen and living room. It's a small one bedroom flat and you enter directly into the kitchen/diner as it is now, with the partition wall removed.



The potential purchaser wants to use the flat for subletting, and hasn't researched this yet. He is unaware as to whether building regs for subletting require a partition wall between kitchen and living room.



Needless to say the landlord isn't replying to emails and the person who should sort this out is mostly "out of the office" so we're not getting anyhelp there. My friend is on the verge of completion so this situation has to be solved quickly or the whole sale could fall through. Of course she should have fixed this before, and she feels guilty and highly stressed for not doing so, but this situation still needs a solution, and a solution thatis as simple and financially viable as possible.



One solution could be to put back the wall. The purchaser may agree to the sale on this basis IF it were demanded in the building regs for subletting.



So at this point we need to know ASAP what actually are the building regsfor subletting regarding a separate kitchen, entrance through a kitchen and such. Knowing where to find the regs on this would also help.



Can anyone advise or generally come up with any good ideas on this?
If she is afraid of what the landlord will say when she leaves the landlordhas left it too late to affect anything. What is the problem?

You haven't doen anything to clarify the situation in any of the replies made.

The best thing you can do is FO and leave well enough, alone. And so shouldeveryone else on here who might consider offering advice.
 
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E

Eusebius

Helo Terry,

Sounds like you have an interest in the law. Yes, we've laid all this out in a letter to the solicitor which was sent off today. A lot will depend this week on meetings with people, and most important the landlords.

That's a good point made about the stud wall. It's a pretty simple job. We've made some draft plans. I'll see if I can get a definite statement from asurveyor or architect tomorrow as to whether the kitchen area needs to be enclosed. That needs to be established for a start.

Thank you very much for all your help so far.
 

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