Can You Sell A House Without Building Certificates?


As mentioned in previous posts my wife and I are currently in the process of selling our house. So far everything has gone to plan as we’ve recently accepted an offer on our house and the survey has gone through as expected. There has been one thing that’s been plaguing my mind since the survey though. Would the fact that we don’t have certificates for all the building works that have been carried out on the property stop the sale from proceeding?

I’m guessing this is something that might worry quite a few people who are either considering selling their house via an online agent* or are in the process of doing so. Whether you’ve undertaken some major DIY projects in your house or have had some building work carried out by a builder that didn’t give you any certificates to guarantee the work on completion, you may be wondering if it will stop your house sale from completing or cause problems when the solicitors become involved.

Do You Need Building Certificates?

I had an appointment with my solicitor today to hand in the forms which outline the details of my house including any building works that have been recently undertaken. In our 5 years in the house we’ve done a lot of electrical work, added a central heating system, added new windows and more! The problem is I’ve done some of the work myself and the builder we hired to do the rest of the work didn’t give us any certificates to sign off his building work. We know the builder and know his work is of good quality but unfortunately in the times we live in a good reputation just isn’t enough. These days a builder needs to have qualifications, trade body registrations and be able to provide professional certificates for any building work to be recognised as satisfactory in the eyes of the local authority!

So what did my solicitor have to say when I nervously handed him the forms stating that we had no certificates for the building work that had been done? The good news is he didn’t say much! His reaction confirmed what I had been hoping, that if a lack of building certificates was enough to stop the sale of a house, not many people would be able to sell their house!

Many builders out there are not really qualified to carry out the work they do, many homeowners carry out DIY tasks on their houses that they’re not really qualified to do. As a result most people who are selling their house might struggle to produce certificates for all the building work that has been undertaken in their property since regulations required them. So how do solicitors get around it?


I was very relieved to hear that solicitors can request a standard insurance policy at a cost of just £50 to insure against any potential problems that may occur due to the absence of all these building certificates. When you consider it could cost you a similar amount just to get a certificate to state that your windows have been fitted properly, this insurance seems pretty good value to me and I’m very glad it exists!

Could Missing Building Certificates Still Cause Problems?

Just to be clear, I’m by no means encouraging you to go out and hire any cowboy builder to carry out building work on your house. If you don’t have certificates for building work it could still cause you some future problems. When you come to get a valuation, for example, you might find that a house which you had assumed had been converted to a 3 bedroom property is actually still a 2 bed, as the appropriate building regulations have not been met. You might also have problems with leaking windows, faulty central heating, dodgy plumbing or hazardous electrical systems. I would always encourage you to have building work carried out by a qualified professional.

There is also a chance that not having the necessary certificates could cause your potential buyer to lose faith in your house and walkaway from the sale! So, my advice would be to have all building works carried out by qualified professionals who can certify their work through the relevant trade bodies.

It’s just good to know that if you don’t have all the necessary building certificates, it won’t automatically stop your house sale from proceeding!

4 Responses to Can You Sell A House Without Building Certificates?

  1. AverageJoe says:

    Isn’t that fantastic when you worry about something and find out that it’s going to be okay? Your discussion with the solicitor reminds me of the time I drove a rental car out of the stated area on a long road trip. Again: no big deal (of course it would have been if something had gone wrong)

  2. Stressed says:

    selling a house without a completion certificate, can anybody recommend an insurance company that will deal with this issue?

  3. Tony says:

    My wife and I are in a pickle. We had a substantial extension done which was completed in Feb 2017. We are pleased with the work and had two inspections during the build and then the final one over a year after build was completed!

    We used an Approved Inspector (Aedis) following the advice of our builder. However, we never received the completion certificate and Aedis have now gone bust. Instead, the completion notice and sign off has now passed to the Local Authority. We have been forewarned that, if we can’t retrieve any documents from Aedis that exploratory work may need to be done on the footings, concrete slab, etc. This would also be a cost we incur. Further, the inspector visited 2 weeks ago and is insisting on some light remedial work that he states doesn’t conform to building regs. We’ve also learnt the same inspector and the builder we used have a previous grudge with each other! We’re hoping we won’t fall victim to any falling out between them.

    In short, what can we expect? Aedis aren’t returning calls or answering emails. Can the LA dismantle our build to check things as they are reluctant to sign work off without thorough inspection? Do we really need the completion certificate if we sell in 20 years time? We already have boiler and electric certificates.

    Any advice or information is appreciated.

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