Home buyers and sellers are being warned to be on their guard when considering a property with a loft conversion, as failure to have the right documents can send costs soaring.

That is the message from property expert Sharon Lerry from the residential conveyancing team at Worcestershire law firm mfg Solicitors, who says she is having to break the news to clients that their bills are going literally through the ceiling.

Loft conversions can provide vital space for growing families but Miss Lerry says buyers and sellers have to be careful to ensure they have seen all the right documentation. Lack of the right certificates can render buildings insurance invalid.

Miss Lerry said: “Anyone buying a home with a loft conversion should ask the estate agent whether it has a Building Regulations Completion Certificate and for an approximate date of conversion. But they also must not leave it there. Estate agents will rely on what they are told by the seller. So a savvy buyer must get their conveyancer to be completely on the ball too.”

However, Miss Lerry said if a vendor cannot provide the certificate, all is not necessarily lost.

“The buyer needs a Structural Survey to make sure the conversion complied with the relevant regulations at the time it was carried out,” she said.

“If it does not, then it can cost thousands of pounds to make the room legally habitable in order to obtain a Certificate of Regularisation through a local authority. Some may even have to apply for full Building Regulations approval.”

Miss Lerry added that she has dealt with a number of cases in the past 12 months – with one seller being forced to make a £25,000 upgrade to ensure their loft conversion ticked all the boxes.

For further information readers can contact Sharon Lerry through sharon.lerry@mfgsolicitors.com or telephone 0845 55 55 321.

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