Apartment block has extra apartment built with no planning permission

Discussion in 'Management companies, apartments, etc.' started by Marcia, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. Marcia

    Marcia Registered User

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    Apartment block has illegal apartment, ie. extra apartment built with no planning permission and is illegally occupied by rental tenants. Owner refuses to stop renting it out and insurance company will no longer provide block insurance as a result. What are the options for the other residents - how will this impact them (assuming there is no fire / flood etc, damage of that nature) (Solicitor already engaged) thanks
     
  2. SirMille

    SirMille Frequent Poster

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2017
    Have the council knock it over or board it up? ;)

    No planning permission!, what do the councils actually do?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2017
  3. Palerider

    Palerider Frequent Poster

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    Contact your local planning authority, they will progress, no permission means just that.
     
  4. noproblem

    noproblem Frequent Poster

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    As a matter of interest, are you talking about Ireland and if so what county?
     
  5. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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    Is there any chance the 'extra' apartment could somehow be separated from your building and excluded from a block insurance policy?
    As in, if it's not physically part of your core building but some sort of annex?
     
  6. lantus

    lantus Frequent Poster

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    It's hard to imagine how a private owner managed to add to an apartment block? Presumably from the ground up? Could you provide some clarification?

    Is the owner the original builder? Is it covered under the original planning? Just some basic questions to ask first.

    However it is odd and it would normally require permission from the directors and involvement of the block insurer as a minimum.

    If this has compromised the block insurance then the directors should be writing to all owners advising and should be vigorously persuing with local authority. The omc should clarify if they have permission to knock this development immediately to ensure insurance is reinstated without any delay.
     
  7. Marcia

    Marcia Registered User

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    The original builder built an extra apartment which should have been left as a roof void. He kept it for his own private use and now rents it out. He never applied for planning permission or a retention order. Obviously the council didn't know about it, maybe their hands are tied, I don't know. And no it can't be separated from the rest of the building as it is in the roof.
     
  8. lantus

    lantus Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
    Ok, so he has done an attic conversion then? After the main building was completed? Or as an add on at the end of the building phase. Timelines are important.

    Does the unit have its own separate entrance? I.e completely independent?

    Does it exist on land registry? If yes advise it's illegal with no planning and get solicitor to undo this via the omc. If yes then also get the lenders name if there was one and advise them it has compromised the block insurance being illegally built and will be demolished without predujuice.

    Is there a separate ESB box and water meter for the unit? Or are these fed from the builders own unit? Edit: I think this is a one off not an additional unit above the builders.

    I can see why the insurer has terminated the policy. Generally the roof void is the company's property.

    I'd be concerned about fire regulation compliance. What level is the roof void? Is the unit part of the building fire alarm system?

    Check the primary lease as to rights of access for the company. Usually they have unimpeded access to their property. If this is technically roof void then it's still theirs and can be accessed at any time.

    I would be highlighting all of these potential issues to the planners and the fire officer.

    I would also ask the insurer what would be required to get cover accepted on this extra unit as a back up plan. Drawings, certs etc. Not ideal but cover every angle.

    Check if the tenancy is registered with the rtb. If no report it and also mention it's an illegally built unit which is soon to be demolished.

    I'd also advise revenue of the illegally built apartment and the owners and tenants name. If he has no interest in planning law he is likley uninterested in tax law as well.

    If I were a director I'd be checking with my solicitor that I can instruct my builder to revert the structure back immediately without any delay. Give the tenants 24 hour notice but I would be writing to them now advising that they are living in an illegally built unit on private property not owned by the landlord and that it will be demolished at any time without warning. Harsh on them i know but without block insurance you have potentially a multi million euro development totally uninsured. The directors have a duty of care to protect that at all costs.

    I would be pushing my solicitor to clarify my position so I could resolve this ASAP. Have a locksmith on standby to gain access to and remove the doors of the unit to allow for demolition if required.

    Edit: re your original post on impact no block insurance makes it virtually impossible to sell a unit. No lender would approve a mortgage on the basis of no buildings insurance. In theory a cash buyer would be viable but they would have to be nuts to buy knowing there is no insurance.

    In the event of total loss all owners would still owe any outstanding debt to their lenders but would have no property.

    It's really serious. The directors need to pursue this vigorously. If they let it drag on or do nothing they could be negligent in allowing the situation to remain unresolved and themselves be subject to a claim of negligence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  9. Seagull

    Seagull Frequent Poster

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    How old is the building?
     
  10. Cervelo

    Cervelo Frequent Poster

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    How big is the block of apartments ?? because I would imagine this is going to cost a lot to put right and I would hazzard a guess that the builder is not going to be forthcoming with the money
    To add to Intus list of things to do, a OMC meeting about how this is going to be funded which wrongly could end up been the owners!!
     
  11. lantus

    lantus Frequent Poster

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    All omc costs are bourne by the owners. In this case you need to weigh no buildings insurance which gives your property zero value and makes it impossible to sell as well as being very risky in terms of any loss.

    Imagine if the owners have to fund a mortgage for a property that doesn't exist anymore and any new mortgage or rent on another property to live in! Pretty scary stuff.

    The cost to rectify this by comparison is manageable and much smaller.
     
  12. Seagull

    Seagull Frequent Poster

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    Given that it's an illegal addition to the building, does the builder have any right to even access it? Did the builder keep any other units in the development?

    What's the minimum that's needed to have the insurance reinstated? Would removing access to this apartment be enough, or does it need to be completely removed?
     
  13. lantus

    lantus Frequent Poster

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    Possibly has no right of access if it's a loft space.

    Good thought re the minute to satisfy the insurers if all power and water are removed (plus sinks and wcs and primary kitchen fittings) and the space is no longer habitable, door is sealed shut then might be enough. Insurers are pedantic though so it will really need a very considered approach by the insurer. Again a lot of work involved in negotiating this if it's an option.
     
  14. Marcia

    Marcia Registered User

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    Thanks for all your comments - I feel a bit overwhelmed! The management company have a solicitor working on their behalf and they know it's really serious. I think the original builder went bankrupt and now the illegal apartment is owned by a receiver who is seemingly related to the builder, although I'm not totally sure about this. I'm just worried that the residents will be asked to move out until it's resolved. Strangely my next door
     
  15. lantus

    lantus Frequent Poster

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    It is very unlikely anyone will be asked to move out. Having no insurance won't prompt such an action.

    The receiver may be a slight issue. On the one side they are very hard to work with and operate outside the boundaries of normal legal practices.

    On the other side they will have no real emotional interest in this unit and won't be able to sell it anyway if there is no insurance.

    In that sense you have the advantage as their primary purpose cannot be concluded.

    Please keep us updated on the progress of this as it would be good to know what the outcome was, thanks.
     
    Marcia likes this.
  16. Marcia

    Marcia Registered User

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