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pyracantha

Missive Advice Please

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Hi All,

Our offer on a house was accepted but we are having problems concluding the missives. We asked for copies of the planning approval for attic conversion works carried out some time ago. The sellers supplied some of the documents but refused to get us the plan, so we got it ourselves from the council. This showed us there is disparity between what they told the council they were going to do and what they actually did. It looks like they got a completion certificate and then did extra works inc' putting in a WC. They are refusing to pay for a letter of comfort from the council (but can afford to do so) and their solicitor is making up all sorts of nonsense about any remedial works advised by the council would not be compulsory - speaking to the council, they would be.

I've got alarm bells going off that there is something wrong they don't want brought to light.

Does anyone have experience of installation of toilets in conversions to help me understand what the problem might be?

Thanks.

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Hi All,

Our offer on a house was accepted but we are having problems concluding the missives. We asked for copies of the planning approval for attic conversion works carried out some time ago. The sellers supplied some of the documents but refused to get us the plan, so we got it ourselves from the council. This showed us there is disparity between what they told the council they were going to do and what they actually did. It looks like they got a completion certificate and then did extra works inc' putting in a WC. They are refusing to pay for a letter of comfort from the council (but can afford to do so) and their solicitor is making up all sorts of nonsense about any remedial works advised by the council would not be compulsory - speaking to the council, they would be.

I've got alarm bells going off that there is something wrong they don't want brought to light.

Does anyone have experience of installation of toilets in conversions to help me understand what the problem might be?

Thanks.

Toilet - Attic - above your head - leaking, not hard to speculate on?

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How long ago? Plans online says within last 6yrs maybe? If old enough council not going to be interested, letter or no letter. If ancient can see their side.

Was the room the toilet in on the plans as a cupboard? How is it plumbed in as new pipework may be notifiable work. Might be plumbed into the roof downpipe or something which is against regs?

Ultimately how much will you lower your offer by is your call. Any other buyer will do the same. It's the summer now so if you pull out they are looking at trying again in the autumn.

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How long ago? Plans online says within last 6yrs maybe? If old enough council not going to be interested, letter or no letter. If ancient can see their side.

Was the room the toilet in on the plans as a cupboard? How is it plumbed in as new pipework may be notifiable work. Might be plumbed into the roof downpipe or something which is against regs?

Ultimately how much will you lower your offer by is your call. Any other buyer will do the same. It's the summer now so if you pull out they are looking at trying again in the autumn.

Thanks for your thoughts. To answer your questions and provide some background information:

We asked for all the planning docs and received the completion certificate & building warrant but not the plan which these doc's referred to - this is the only document to detail the scope of the works. The sellers' solicitor refused to get the plans for us but (strangely) did give us a copy of a quotation which seems to match what work has been done including supply & fit of sanitary wares in the attic. We went to the council, got a copy of the plans and noticed they were drawn up by the same building company who issued the quotation. The plans showed the space as a cupboard. The quotation was dated one month before the drawings. This tells me they always intended to have the toilet installed but chose to not tell the council. I think they got the completion certificate signed off, then had the cupboard converted to the toilet as per the quotation.

I've spoken with the planning dept and although the works are quite old, they are after their cut-off of 1982 and so the council are interested. They advised me regulations in force at the time of the conversion still apply, hence a letter of comfort should be issued subject to a satisfactory inspection. The sellers (yes, boomers) have refused to pay the £328.50 fee. Their solicitor says that remedial works could not be enforced (even if a council inspection were to be carried out) but from a couple of conversations with the council and my reading of the building reg's this is not the case. I think they know there is a problem but have their fingers in their ears and are going "lalalalala not listening".

Of course there is also the problem of solicitors not being able to communicate in language other than threats and bluff. Our solicitor and theirs are women - what's the female version of 'willy waving'?

The estate agent has stepped in and we are trying to take the solicitors out of the equation. The estate agent has agreed that 99% of other potential buyers will automatically ask for a letter of comfort just as we have. This being so commonplace, we do have to ask - what are the sellers trying to hide?

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Sounds like they are in no hurry and the cost to you is circa 400 quid. If it was me, provided the toilet was plumbed in to a soil stack then it would not put me off my dream house.

Seller sounds like a nightmare - I would assume they will strip the place prior to departure.

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Did you buy it?

The seller's EA persuaded them to get the LOC afterall. We have verbal advice that on Friday the inspection was satisfactory - but this is a non-invasive inspection, ie not even including opening the landing door into the attic space to see where the foul pipe runs.

I think this is as good as we'll get. The LOC seems worthless to me but is accepted by sellers, solicitors and lenders alike.

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