LETTER OF COMFORT: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
If you have carried out unauthorised work and are selling your house? You may need a 'Letter of Comfort'.
The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 and its predecessor, The Building (Scotland) Act 1959 both require that a Warrant is granted prior to any building or demolition work being undertaken.
However property owners, or previous owners, sometimes carry out works without approval. This usually causes problems when the property is to be sold. A solicitor may requests copies of the Building Warrant and/or Completion Certificate relating to the works as part of the conveyance process. Where neither of these documents is available, a ‘Letter of Comfort’ may be issued by the Local Authority. Such a letter is generally an acceptable document to satisfy the buyer that the Local Authority will not take action to have the work remedied: in as such that the work carried out presents no danger to the occupiers, "as far as it can be reasonably assessed".
Can I get a letter of comfort?
Only works completed before 1st May 2005 will be considered for a 'Letter of Comfort'.
After you make an application for a letter of comfort, an inspection is carried out at the discretion of the respective authority. The inspection of your works will usually be non-disruptive, and be concerned with the health and safety of people in and around the building.
For works completed after the 1st of May 2005, or where a letter of comfort has been declined due to the building/ works not meeting current Building Standards Regulations relating to health and safety, or perhaps for some other valid reason, then you will be asked to follow the same process as if you, or your agent, were applying for a Building Warrant.
The danger of opting for a “letter of comfort” or indeed for starting the works without a warrant is likely to result in costly remedial work. And a failure to remedy the works may well result in statutory action being enforced by the Local authority.
How much will it cost me to apply for a letter of comfort?
Current costs for a letter of comfort are approximately 125% of Building Warrant Operation costs: (for Building Warrant costs click here). Nonetheless you should check with the respective authority to determine exact scale of fees.
You can, in first instance talk to us, to determine whether a letter of comfort is indeed needed. Our advice is impartial, and free. We can advise you whether lawyers and surveyors are correct in insisting for Building warrants and /or completion certificates. In our experience there have been many instances where inexperienced surveyors have incorrectly assessed a situation. If required and appropriate, we will write a report to negate their findings, and charge you nothing if we don’t get a result.
Building Construction and Services
LETTER OF COMFORT
Charges for Letter of Comfort
Local Authorities will charge a minimum fee of £293.00 plus an additional charge based on the current cost of works, as noted on the Building Warrant scale of fees shown below, is charged for each application for a property inspection.
The application should be accompanied by a cheque for the required amount made payable to ‘ name of respective Local Authority). The service is usually limited to a single inspection. A further fee of £146.00 is also likely to be charged for each additional inspection.