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David Flem­ing is head of prop­erty lit­i­ga­tion at William Heath & Co. QThe

pre­vi­ous own­ers of our house painted the ra­di­a­tors — all 18 of them — with the wrong type of paint, pre­sum­ably or­di­nary emul­sion. It is now flak­ing off and looks very ugly. Is there any way to res­cue them that doesn’t in­volve rub­bing each one down by hand, which is rather a daunt­ing prospect? A

David Snell writes: If it is emul­sion, it should be fine, as long as you re­move all the loose or flak­ing bits. Emul­sion is of­ten used (al­though not rec­om­mended) as an un­der­coat for gloss-type paints. Sim­ply go over the ra­di­a­tors with a stiff brush, wet or dry, and lightly sand the sur­face down af­ter­wards to re­move any ridges that would oth­er­wise show through the new paint­work.

On the other hand, it might be some­thing else that has taken on the matt look of emul­sion, due to the heat from the ra­di­a­tors. I sug­gest you send a sam­ple to Strip­pers Paint Re­movers of Sud­bury (01787 371524; www.strip­per­spaintremo­vers.com) for anal­y­sis. They will tell you ex­actly what it is and, in all prob­a­bil­ity, will be able to rec­om­mend and send you the right so­lu­tion to re­move it. David Snell is con­tribut­ing ed­i­tor to Home­build­ing & Ren­o­vat­ing mag­a­zine and au­thor of Build­ing Your Own Home, avail­able at £25 plus p&p from 0870 155 7222. He will be ap­pear­ing next week­end at The New­bury Home­build­ing & Ren­o­vat­ing Show, at the New­bury Show­ground (0871 945 4547). PLAN­NING QTwo

years ago, I en­gaged an ar­chi­tect to pre­pare draw­ings and ap­ply for plan­ning and Build­ing Reg­u­la­tions con­sent for a barn con­ver­sion. My brother is a QMy

neigh­bour was flooded out last year and has just fit­ted a new kitchen. The wall of his house borders my prop­erty and the ex­haust from the oven-range blows on to my ter­race at face level. Does this con­tra­vene any laws? It is noisy, smelly and most un­pleas­ant. A Your neigh­bour may be in breach of build­ing reg­u­la­tions; it de­pends on the ex­act na­ture of the ap­pli­ance con­cerned. Ap­proved doc­u­ment J of the Build­ing Reg­u­la­tions says that a fan-as­sisted bal­ance flue, for any type of boiler, should be a min­i­mum of 600mm from a sur­face or bound­ary fac­ing the ter­mi­nal. It may be worth­while ask­ing the build­ing con­trol de­part­ment of your lo­cal author­ity to look into it. Quite apart from this, how­ever, the fumes would seem to con­sti­tute a nui­sance. Your lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal heath of­fi­cer should be asked to in­ves­ti­gate and he may well serve what is known as an abate­ment no­tice re­quir­ing your neigh­bours to di­rect the fumes else­where. Al­ter­na­tively, as a last re­sort, you could make a claim in the county court ask­ing for an in­junc­tion and dam­ages.


re­tired build­ing con­trac­tor and man­aged the project. I want to sell the barn, but the es­tate agent tells me I won’t be able to with­out a fi­nal com­ple­tion state­ment is­sued by the ar­chi­tect, backed up by an in­dem­nity in­sur­ance state­ment. The ar­chi­tect can’t oblige, of course, be­cause he did not su­per­vise the work. Can you sug­gest a so­lu­tion? A

John Win­ter writes: There is no obli­ga­tion to em­ploy an ar­chi­tect and not many do­mes­tic build­ings have an ar­chi­tect’s com­ple­tion state­ment, so I am sur­prised that your es­tate agent ad­vises that your house will be dif­fi­cult to sell with­out one. How­ever, ev­ery­one car­ry­ing out a con­struc­tion project is obliged to con­form to the re­quire­ments of the lo­cal author­ity’s build­ing con­trol de­part­ment. It does is­sue cer­tifi­cates of com­pli­ance and prospec­tive pur­chasers of­ten ask for th­ese. Per­haps this is what the es­tate agent had in mind. Your brother acted as project man­ager, so it was his job to ob­tain this cer­tifi­cate; I would have ex­pected him to have done so as a mat­ter of course, be­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced con­trac­tor. If he failed to do so, it is not too late to approach build­ing con­trol.

Most new houses and some con­ver­sions have a NHBC guar­an­tee or one backed by an in­sur­ance com­pany. Un­less your brother or builder were prop­erly reg­is­tered, you have prob­a­bly lost your chance of hav­ing such a guar­an­tee. That may be re­gret­table, but it does not make your prop­erty un­saleable.

I sug­gest you go back to your


es­tate agent and ask ex­actly what he does want. If he still de­mands an ar­chi­tect’s com­ple­tion cer­tifi­cate, ask how many houses he sold last year ac­tu­ally had such a doc­u­ment.

John Win­ter runs his own ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice. QWhat

makes an Is­lamic mort­gage dif­fer­ent from a high­street one? I have heard there are sev­eral dif­fer­ent ver­sions, but I don’t know how to choose be­tween them. Is it only spe­cial­ist lenders which of­fer them and how would I go about find­ing the right one? A

Richard Morea writes: Is­lamic mort­gages are de­signed to avoid the pay­ment of mort­gage in­ter­est, which is not per­mit­ted un­der Sharia law. In Bri­tain, they are usu­ally ar­ranged us­ing one of three dif­fer­ent meth­ods, Ijara, Musharaka or Murabaha.

Un­der an Ijara (lease-to-own) mort­gage, the provider pur­chases the prop­erty cho­sen by the bor­rower, who then makes re­pay­ments of both cap­i­tal and rent, which are usu­ally fixed an­nu­ally. At the end of the term, the lender trans­fers own­er­ship to the bor­rower. A Musharaka mort­gage is a vari­a­tion on this, but is a shared-own­er­ship scheme; a pro­por­tion of the prop­erty trans­fers to the bor­rower with each monthly re­pay­ment un­til, the end of the term, they own the whole thing. A Murabaha (cost-plus) mort­gage is dif­fer­ent from the above be­cause the lender sells the prop­erty on im­me­di­ately to the bor­rower at a higher price, with fixed monthly re­pay­ments spread over the mort­gage term.

It is pos­si­ble to bor­row up to 95 per cent of the pur­chase price, but lenders typ­i­cally in­sist on a de­posit of at least 10 per cent. Those who can pro­vide an Is­lamic mort­gage in­clude HSBC, Arab Bank­ing Cor­po­ra­tion in con­junc­tion with Bris­tol & West (also of­fered through Lloyds TSB), Ahli United Bank, Is­lamic Bank of Bri­tain and United Na­tional Bank — cur­rently the only provider to lend in Scot­land.

There used to be a huge down­side to Is­lamic mort­gages in that Stamp Duty was payable twice — once when the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion bought the prop­erty and again when it was trans­ferred to their client — but this is no longer the case. They are avail­able to Mus­lims and nonMus­lims, but may work out more ex­pen­sive than a tra­di­tional mort­gage be­cause the mar­ket is still rel­a­tively small. Whether this is a faith-based de­ci­sion or not, make sure you com­pare the costs of all your op­tions, al­though this is eas­ier said than done with­out a pub­lished in­ter­est rate. None of the schemes cur­rently avail­able car­ries an early re­demp­tion charge.

Richard Morea is a mort­gage spe­cial­ist at L&C (0800 953 0304; www.lcplc.co.uk). Our ex­perts re­gret that they can­not an­swer read­ers’ let­ters per­son­ally. All cor­re­spon­dence should be sent to them at the ad­dress given above. We re­gret that we can­not ac­knowl­edge let­ters. Please keep them brief.

David Flem­ing writes:

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