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Buying a house with no planning permission for large extension

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I am just in the final stages of buying a 3 bed semi-detached with a vast single storey extension to the rear, opening up a large kitchen and through into a conservatory/sun room.

The sellers cannot provide any certificates or anything relating to the approval of planning permission. However they do have a letter from the local council saying the work that has been done is in line with building regulations. Does this alone prove that planning permission was approved?

We are buying the property with cash initially, however in 4-5 years we will be needing to take out a mortgage on the property and we are just concerned that down the line there may be a problem with getting a mortgage approved.

The seller has provided pictures of the work being done, lintels being installed etc, and we don't really have any concerns at all with the quality of the work as it looks great and has been up just over 10 years already. It is purely the legal side of things that we don't want to come unstuck. Also the threat of the council or somebody turning around and saying we need to rip the extension out etc.

Any help and advice would be much appreciated.

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Hi Marra,


Usually there is a window of time during which the council can take legal action (4 years, i think?). Ask your solicitors. If the structure has been up for 10 years, I doubt the council can justify any action.


In most cases, getting a retrospective planning permission shouldn't be a problem - and if you need a mortgage on the property, your lenders might insist on it.


Is the sewer private or public? You will probably need a build-over agreement with the water company before you can mortgage the house if public. If the sewer is private, then the only thing you need to worry about is if any work is needed to be done (although unlikely that this would involve digging up your floors). This might scare prospective buyers though.

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