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redwing

2nd Floor "bedroom" - Building Regs

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I've viewed a potential house to rent. It's described as having 2 bedrooms.

It's an old house, I'd guess 18th Century. The main structure is over three floors.

On the ground floor is the living room. There is an open staircase to the first floor. The first floor bedroom is off the first floor landing and it has a door.

Going up the second flight of stairs off the landing leads straight into the 2nd floor "bedroom".

There is no door on the 2nd floor "bedroom". Nor are there any doors between this space and the ground floor - e.g. on the staircases or landing.

I know there are building regs on 2nd floor rooms, but am struggling to find them on the web. Most of what I can find relates to new buildings and conversions.

You can obviously see where this is going. If the building is really a one-bedroom house with an attic room, then I have a pretty big bargaining chip when it comes to the price.

Other info. I don't know when the last refit of this building took place. The house doesn't appear on nethouseprices so it's been in the same hands for a while now.

There is no way of safely getting out of the second floor window. It's a precipitous drop to the ground. I don't mind if the second floor isn't a bedroom as it would make a really great office/study space.

Any advice muchly appreciated. Thanks.

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Yes, lots of flats have these balconied bedrooms, it is normally the master bedroom. You find them in lots of new builds/conversions IMHO it is done to makes a flat feel like a new york loft

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Yes, lots of flats have these balconied bedrooms, it is normally the master bedroom. You find them in lots of new builds/conversions IMHO it is done to makes a flat feel like a new york loft

There's no balcony. There's no way of getting out of this 2nd floor room if there's a fire coming up from below. And there's nothing to stop a fire ascending.

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There's no balcony. There's no way of getting out of this 2nd floor room if there's a fire coming up from below. And there's nothing to stop a fire ascending.

I think "balcony" in this context means a sort of minstrels' gallery, not the sort of thing Juliet stood on.

I have read up a case decided by the rental property tribunal service which related to a listed property where the staircase was steep & narrow and the local authority served a prohibition order under the HHSR regs: the decision was to "split the difference" they didn't ban the rental but forbade the LL from letting to anyone under 10 or over 60. Unfortunately I can't remember the case or LA. But it's the HHSR regs that are relevant. (& boy, are they complex!)

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Is there a window in this room?

Do you mean a galleried area and the ceiling is shared?

You are only in a bargaining position in relation to how keen the LL is to let the place and what other competition there is.

If someone else loves the house and find this quirky feature a plus, then they will obviously be happy to rent the place and pay the full asking price.

There is no fixed price scheme when it comes to rentals. You make an offer based on what you think it is worth and they either accept it or hold out for a better offer.

Or is there another issue here I'm missing?

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Thanks Flopsy

Is there a window in this room?

Yes - as I said in the OP and it's a long way to the ground. This is second floor remember.

Do you mean a galleried area and the ceiling is shared?

No. There is only one second floor space and the stairs walk directly up into it.

You are only in a bargaining position in relation to how keen the LL is to let the place and what other competition there is.

True.

If someone else loves the house and find this quirky feature a plus, then they will obviously be happy to rent the place and pay the full asking price.

Obviously

There is no fixed price scheme when it comes to rentals. You make an offer based on what you think it is worth and they either accept it or hold out for a better offer.

Or is there another issue here I'm missing?

I don't think so.

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I know a little bit about building regs., but not enought that you should hold me to this.

As far as I can tell from your description, the 2nd floor bedroom should have a self closing fire door on it, as should all rooms on the 1st floor except the bathroom. Unless there is a fire door between the kitchen and stairwell at the ground floor then I 'think' that the 2nd floor should also have a fire exit. As I said I am no expert, so please check this with your local council's building regs office.

I have no idea where this puts you legally with regard to renting though. I think that the above poster maybe correct in that when renting (or buying) you can only really bargain when no one else has shown interest.

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I know a little bit about building regs., but not enought that you should hold me to this.

As far as I can tell from your description, the 2nd floor bedroom should have a self closing fire door on it, as should all rooms on the 1st floor except the bathroom. Unless there is a fire door between the kitchen and stairwell at the ground floor then I 'think' that the 2nd floor should also have a fire exit. As I said I am no expert, so please check this with your local council's building regs office.

I have no idea where this puts you legally with regard to renting though. I think that the above poster maybe correct in that when renting (or buying) you can only really bargain when no one else has shown interest.

Thanks bb. I'll have go at contacting the building regs folk at the local council tomorrow.

If I find out that it's not a bedroom, and if I don't get the place for a discount. Then I'll shop the letting agents and the landlord. Could be fun.

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If I find out that it's not a bedroom, and if I don't get the place for a discount. Then I'll shop the letting agents and the landlord. Could be fun.

Why? Because you have nothing better to do?!

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No. Because if it's been misreprented, then I think I'd have a duty to.

I think my local newsagent has some crisps that are a day or two out of date, would you like me to pass you the details so you can shop them, you absolute jobsworth?

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Do you actually want to rent this place?

From postings you've made elsewhere I assume this is in the Cambridge area.

Personally it sounds like a fire hazard/death trap so I would avoid.

If you feel you can live with the risk then by all means negotiate with the LL. If you don't, just walk away.

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I know a little bit about building regs., but not enought that you should hold me to this.

As far as I can tell from your description, the 2nd floor bedroom should have a self closing fire door on it, as should all rooms on the 1st floor except the bathroom. Unless there is a fire door between the kitchen and stairwell at the ground floor then I 'think' that the 2nd floor should also have a fire exit. As I said I am no expert, so please check this with your local council's building regs office.

I have no idea where this puts you legally with regard to renting though. I think that the above poster maybe correct in that when renting (or buying) you can only really bargain when no one else has shown interest.

Building regs are not retrospective. So provided the place was legal when built in 1066 it's still legal now.

Take chip off shoulder and place in waste paper bin.

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Building regs are not retrospective. So provided the place was legal when built in 1066 it's still legal now.

Take chip off shoulder and place in waste paper bin.

Um.Up to a point, Lord Copper. While I agree that the OP seems to be a bit of a jobsworth (work for Bournemouth Council, by any chance?), the HHSR rules apply in theory to ANY property, including owner-occupied. All part of this wonderful Gov'ts drive to improve the quality of the housing stock ( which helps get them off the hook - if all houses are physically suitable for 85 year old disabled druggies with Alzheimer's, they won't have to spend so much on care homes).

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and came into effect on 6 April 2006. It applies to residential properties in England.

Obviously, Local Authorities have prioritised properties like HMOs, but in theory they can go for any property.

If you can bear it ( there's 185 pages) here's the link:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications...eratingguidance

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Building Regs are only applicable to new works or alterations/conversions.

Existing buildings converted or altered historically should have been covered by the b/regs that were current at the time.

However, an existing buiding that previously had single occupation has changed to multiple occupation is a different matter ,so if in doubt contact your L/a Building Control who will be helpful.

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Well, Cartimandua, you are of course right, but this is nothing new for local authorities have "always" been able to condemn property as unfit for habitation, so no change there.

The property, jackofalltrades, is clearly not in multiple occupation. In fact, it's not in any sort of occupation at all, which is why it's on the rental market.

Returning to OP's case, he'd be better off looking for something worthwhile to worry about, like whether Jack Straw's socks match.

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<!--quoteo(post=2170321:date=Sep 29 2009, 06:28 PM:name=Telometer)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Telometer @ Sep 29 2009, 06:28 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=2170321"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Building regs are not retrospective. So provided the place was legal when built in 1066 it's still legal now.

Take chip off shoulder and place in waste paper bin.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Um.Up to a point, Lord Copper. While I agree that the OP seems to be a bit of a jobsworth (work for Bournemouth Council, by any chance?), the HHSR rules apply in theory to ANY property, including owner-occupied. All part of this wonderful Gov'ts drive to improve the quality of the housing stock ( which helps get them off the hook - if all houses are physically suitable for 85 year old disabled druggies with Alzheimer's, they won't have to spend so much on care homes).

<i>The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and came into effect on 6 April 2006. It applies to residential properties in England. </i>

Obviously, Local Authorities have prioritised properties like HMOs, but in theory they can go for any property.

If you can bear it ( there's 185 pages) here's the link:

<a href="http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/hhsrsoperatingguidance" target="_blank">http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications...eratingguidance</a>

Thanks for your reply. I'll follow the link and have a look.

I did contact the local building regs people and now understand that the regs only apply to work that is being done. And as this building is v. old they clearly do not apply.

To those of you who think I'm being picky; it's because I like haggling on the rent. And will look for any bargaining chip I can find. So I won't be taking the "chip off shoulder", I'll be using it to help drive down rents.

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