Extended problems

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty looks at the process of applying for a regularisation certificate for an extension to a property retrospectively
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Completion certificate cartoon
© Malcolm Willett (www.willett-ink.co.uk)
Question: Seven years ago I bought a property with an extension. There was no local authority building control completion certificate.

Everyone I knew with an extension didn't have one, either, so I wasn't concerned. Is there a period of time when this is no longer relevant? Failing that, can I apply now for the certificate, or is it too late?

Answer: Before construction, any structural building works should be approved by the local authority or the subject of a building notice.

When completed, an inspector will issue a completion certificate, confirming that they comply with building regulations.

The inspector can take action where works do not comply, either in the magistrates' court, where the time limit is 12 months, or in the civil courts for an injunction, where the limit is "a reasonable time" - generally regarded as between 10 and 20 years. Evidence of compliance with the building regulations is required by lenders when granting a mortgage.

You may apply retrospectively for a regularisation certificate but before doing so it is best to consult a surveyor, a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, who will confirm whether the extension complies with the regulations or, alternatively, can negotiate with the building inspector for you.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.

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