POINTS OF LAW
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.
BRICKS & MORTAR
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: