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5 problems to avoid when selling a property

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By Jonathan Potter

Sales can be held up by issues that are not perceived as problems during ownership. Below are some common problems which often arise:

1. Building regulations

Extensions whereby building regulation consent is obtained but not the final Building Regulation Completion Certificate can have a consequence. The buyer may insist you obtain indemnity insurance/retrospective certificate from the council. Do ensure you arrange for the council to inspect the work on completion and issue a certificate. Do not assume your contractor will do this for you.

2. Building regulations consent

  • FENSA certificate for double glazing since 1 April 2002;

  • Gas safety certificate for boilers installed since 1 January 2005;

  • ELECSA or NICEIC certificate for electrical work since 1 January 2005.

If you do not have these certificates, your buyer will likely insist you pay the premium for indemnity insurance. You must ensure your contractor is a registered installer who will issue the appropriate certificates on completion of the work. The certificates should also be registered with the council. You should keep these documents in a safe place.

3. Restrictive covenant consent

Potentially required in addition to planning permission and building regulation consent. Note the covenants on the Land Registry title when you buy the property. Consent may be required from the beneficiary of the covenant for works before you carry them out. If you do not obtain the consent, indemnity insurance may be required to cover against the risk of enforcement action for breach of the covenant.

It may not be possible to obtain consent as the beneficiary of the covenant is untraceable and in which case indemnity insurance may be the only choice.

4. Landlord consent

It is usual for landlord consent to be required for any alterations to leasehold property. If not obtained, it is likely a buyer will insist you obtain retrospective consent from the landlord.

You must approach the landlord for consent for any alteration works before you carry them out. A deed of variation of the lease may also be necessary.

5. Failure to obtain build over consent

Building an extension or conservatory over a public sewer or within 3 metres of the sewer? A build over agreement from the local sewerage authority is required. Failure to obtain this means the sewerage authority can remove the structure without compensation. If this is not in place, a buyer is likely to insist that indemnity insurance is obtained.

At TWM Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of experts who can advise you on all aspects of residential property. We would be pleased to assist and discuss your requirements without obligation.

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