Missing documentation holds up house sales

Selling your home? In England this is only legally possible if the property owner provides both sets of Solicitors with the correct documentation. This article highlights some of the less obvious paperwork home owners often forget to sort out in relation to replacement windows, doors and for a conservatory or extension until it is too late, either holding up the sale and incurring additional Solicitors fees, or in some cases causing the sale to fall through altogether.

Having all the correct legal documents in your possession helps your property to retain its’ value. Not having authentic paperwork can significantly diminish the value of a house.

For example if the property is under 10 years old, it may have an NHBC Warranty. This gives comprehensive cover for only the first two years, covering only major structural defects for the next 8 years. Nevertheless, a buyers Solicitor will want a copy of this certificate, as any valid guarantee has a worth.

If there are Guarantees for replacement double-glazing, a conservatory that has been added or damp and timber treatment, remember that, no matter how impressive the Guarantee appears, it is only as good as the company that gave it. A 10 year Guarantee is of no use if the company giving it went out of business! With damp and timber treatment, you should always ensure that the Guarantee is accompanied by the specifications of the work done, so that a prospective purchaser can see what is actually covered.

If your property has had any replacement windows or doors fitted since 2002 (prior to then all changes were via your local authorities Building Control) you will need to provide both sets of Solicitors with FENSA certificates for each door and window that has been replaced. FENSA stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. When replacing windows, doors and roof lights in dwellings in England and Wales, homeowners must comply with current thermal performance and Building Regulation standards and ensure they get a certificate from a Competent Person scheme such as FENSA or Local Authority Building Control. FENSA enables companies that install replacement windows and doors to self-certify compliance under these Building Regulations without the need for a separate assessment from Building Control.

FENSA certificates are sent direct to each homeowner by FENSA themselves, so double glazing installers don’t have copies of these, so if you lose your certificate you will need to purchase a replacement from FENSA. You can do so online for £25 each by visiting forms.fensa.org.uk/fensa-certificate or by posting them a cheque for £25 per replacement certificate. This is a good example why it is important to keep all your documentation relating to your property in a safe place and when selling your house ensuring everything is in place as soon as you put your property on the market.

You will also need to provide the Buyers Solicitors with copies of all Planning Permissions, Building Regulations Approvals and Completion Certificates, and other consents for any works done or changes of use at the property.

For example if you have a conservatory that shares a boundary with your neighbour, by law under the Party Wall Act you have to have their written consent to be able to legally build the structure immediately adjacent to your neighbour’s property. When you come to sell the house, if you don’t have your neighbour’s written approval it could prevent the sale of your property.

If you have built a conservatory or extension on your property, but it has a a sewer or pipe running underneath it which can restrict the legal ability to extend, as normally you cannot build over or near to a public sewer, you will need to pay for and obtain a Build Over Agreement from your Water company.

Likewise if you have built a conservatory under permitted development, then taken away the thermal barrier (i.e. external doors) between your existing house and the conservatory, you will either need to apply for and obtain Building Regulatory Approval or put back the thermal barrier before being able to sell your home.

Independent double glazing manufacturers and installers since 1985 Hazlemere Window Company Ltd are FENSA Registered Installers (No. 10589) and have been since the scheme’s inception in 2002. As such Hazlemere don’t just provide a fully comprehensive guarantee, they also provide every replacement window and door customer with an additional 10 year insurance backed warranty from GGFi, the Glass and Glazing Federation’s insurance arm. Conservatories don’t come under FENSA, yet Hazlemere still provide all their conservatory customers with a 10 year insurance backed warranty from HIP (Home Improvement Protection) even though they are not obliged to.

Whats more, if customers have bought replacement windows and doors via Hitachi Personal Finance, they have an additional “gold standard” of insurance cover for the entire warranty period. Hazlemere Window Company Ltd are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and as such offer customers the option of credit finance on new windows and doors via Hitachi Personal Finance.


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