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HouseWorth
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. Can you sell a house without a Building Control Certificate?
House selling tips
18 October 2022

Can you sell a house without a Building Control Certificate?

Fatima Bukhari
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is a Building Control Certificate?
  2. 2. What are Building Regulations?
  3. 3. Why having a Building Control Certificate is important
  4. 4. How to obtain a Building Control Certificate
  5. 5. Reasons why you may not have a Building Control Certificate
  6. 6. No Building Control Certificate and want to sell?
  7. 7. Indemnity insurance
  8. 8. Obtain a regularisation certificate
  9. 9. Planning permission VS Building Regulations
  10. 10. A Building Control Certificate is necessary and cost-effective

Selling your home is stressful enough without having to deal with mountains of paperwork and certificates. Nevertheless, one of the most important documents you will need is a Building Control Certificate. Having one ensures a smooth and cost-effective property transaction.

What is a Building Control Certificate?

A Building Control Certificate is documentation of proof that your building work has been inspected and approved by Building Control and is safe. Before thinking about selling your property, it would be beneficial to obtain Building Regulations approval.

If you don’t have a Building Control Certificate, then the chances are that you cannot sell your home. You will need to disclose to any potential buyers that your home does not have Building Regulations approval.

What are Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are vital to ensure the health and safety of individuals in or around your building. They provide functional requirements for both building design and construction, as well as promoting energy efficiency. Building Regulation compliance is essential for any occupied dwelling in the UK.

Why having a Building Control Certificate is important

A Building Control Certificate is issued once any building work on your property is inspected. It is a major document and something a potential buyer will be looking out for when you come to sell your property.

Before you start any work on your home, an inspector should be immediately notified. Mortgage lenders must also be notified if the property does not have a Building Control Certificate.

For those looking to obtain house insurance, you will be unable to without the certificate, as it brings great risk. This is because a property without Building Regulations consent may risk local authority enforcement action - meaning that in future, you may have to pay for restorations or even revert the property to its original condition.

How to obtain a Building Control Certificate

As the seller of your property, you will be expected to produce a Building Regulations Completion Certificate. If you need to obtain a Building Control Certificate there are two routes you can take. If the building work was initially carried out by your local authority, then you should contact them to acquire a copy of the Completion Certificate.

However, if the work was carried out by an Approved Inspector, you need to notify them for copies of any notices or plans of final certificates.

It’s important to note that you may be charged an administration fee if no completion certificate was issued in the first place. A final inspection certificate may be sent to you instead, or an actual inspection may be required.

It is vital to remember that obtaining Building Regulations approval is a statutory requirement set by the government. This is to ensure both design and construction meet Building Regulation compliance.

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What documents are needed?

The significant documents are those issued when building works have been approved, inspected and passed. If the work has been undertaken with approval from the local council, the document is a “Building Regulations Certificate of Completion”. However, if an approved inspector is used instead, the document given is a “Building Regulations Final Certificate”.

Reasons why you may not have a Building Control Certificate

There are many reasons why you may not have a Building Control Certificate. The process of buying and selling your home can be a rather stressful task, and can make it easy to overlook certain paperworks.

You may have moved into your home immediately after previous work was completed. For example, if any work had been completed before 1990, the previous owner would not have applied for a Building Control Certificate or have been aware of any relevant regulations.

Another reason for not having a Building Control Certificate is having had work done before the regulations changed to include them. For example, work that was once exempt from Building Regulations that now needs building control approval.

Since you did not obtain a certificate for the building work, the issue remains because there is no proof that the work is compliant with the Building Regulations.

An example of building works that require approval include extending the building, inserting insulation into a cavity wall and structural alterations.

On the other hand, examples of work that do not require Building Regulation approval are conservatories built at ground level, porches built at ground level, and alterations to existing circuits and electrical wiring.

No Building Control Certificate and want to sell?

Having no retrospective Building Control approval does not mean that work is not up to standard, but it does mean that the correct procedure wasn’t followed. You can apply for regularisation at your local authority Building Control Department.

Fortunately, regularisation certificates can be obtained and issued without pulling apart your property, although some invasive inspection may be required.

The act of making a purchase can be rather expensive for a buyer, with costs of remedying the building or removing work that does not comply. A solution to this is indemnity insurance, which covers such costs. You can get a quote for professional indemnity insurance, which will help you understand the cost and process.

Indemnity insurance

Indemnity insurance is a protection policy that is purchased during property transactions. This insurance consists of a policy that covers the cost of any implications of a third party making claims against any faults of the property you are about to purchase. You usually obtain insurance via a solicitor.

For example, if Building Regulations approval and certification should have been acquired yet were not, there are potential risks and consequences.

As a result, under the provisions Section 36(6) Building Act 1984, the council can seek a High Court Injunction to requisite the removal or modification of any work that doesn't comply.

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Non compliance with Building Regulations can lead to great risks, these risks include:

  • A conviction of up to £5000 for each offence
  • Pulling down or removing any work that breaches the regulations
  • The building works could be structurally unsound
  • Refusal from insurance company to pay out under the buildings insurance policy

It is vital to remember that the purchase of an insurance indemnity policy may cover the issue for the sale but does not eliminate the issue with the property. To those who are looking to take out a mortgage, indemnity insurance also covers your lender.

How much is indemnity insurance?

The cost to obtain indemnity insurance policy is dependent upon the value of the property and the type of issue the policy needs to cover. The insurance can vary from £20 to £300.

The initial payment is one off, however if you need the policy to cover a larger issue, for example planning permission, you should expect the indemnity insurance to cost more. You can further discuss the price and legal fees with a conveyancing solicitor.

Will this issue remain for the next buyer?

Fortunately, as the policy is tied to the house rather than the property owner, it is passed onto the next buyer and their successor.

How to break the cycle of not having a Building Control Certificate?

The process of selling your home without a Building Control Certificate is stressful enough for both you and any future buyers, however, there are ways to break the cycle.

Obtain a regularisation certificate

This process allows a retrospective Building Regulations application to be made. However, the process cannot be used for work that was carried out before November 1985. You can use the GOV.UK website to apply for regularisation approval.

Planning permission VS Building Regulations

Planning permission allows development in our towns and cities, ensuring appearance and structural integrity. Planning permission consists of asking local planning authorities for official approval for any building work.

It is your responsibility to seek planning permission and make sure that it is granted before any work begins.

On the other hand, Building Regulations set requirements for the design and construction of dwellings, to ensure the health and safety of those living in the buildings. For example, the Building Regulations set standards for the design, construction, structural stability and fire safety of these buildings.

They also ensure that fuel, power and facilities are provided, especially for those living with disabilities, who may need assistance to move around and access the building.

When you need planning permission

  • When building something new or making any building alterations
  • Making a significant change to your building, for example, a loft conversion or building an extension
  • For changing the use of a building or any remedial work

An important reminder

You can be served with an ‘enforcement notice’ if you do any work without getting planning permission. This enforcement will order you to undo all changes you have made.

A Building Control Certificate is necessary and cost-effective

Selling your property is challenging and time consuming, but having a Building Control Certificate makes things a lot easier. There are a lot of complications you may have to face when selling your home without a Building Control Certificate. It might not be an impossible task to sell your home without one, with the use of indemnity insurance. However, it is simply putting a plaster on the problem. For a long-term solution, a Building Control Certificate is vital to obtain, simplifying the process exponentially.

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Thinking about
selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

Ready to compare agents?

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