During the year I have been preparing a lot of reports on Credit Unions and possible Transfer of Engagements. Many of the Credit Unions that I have had the pleasure of visiting around the country have been upgraded over the last 10 to 20 years. In many cases they are impressive offices built to service the needs of their members and provide a comfortable place of work for their staff. The buildings are a credit to the movement and the individuals involved in their construction.
From a legal perspective theses buildings should have their title in order. If the title is Registry of Deeds, the older system, then the title should be converted to the newer Land Registry system. You will essentially end up with a Folio and File Plan ( map) of the title.
All the planning permissions granted should be there with your Documents of Title. And not just the Decision to Grant Permission but the Final Grant itself. So you want to see the conditions that came with the planning and that they were complied with.
Now if you think about it, it makes sense that your Architect would provide you with what is called an Architects Certificate of Compliance with Planning and Building Regulations. He is saying that, at a minimum, the building was built in accordance with the Planning granted and accords with the current Building Regulations at that time. However, it has happened on more than one occasion now that this document was not sought and cannot now be organised because the original Architect is long since out of business or retired. This is not good practice. My advice is to check your documents now and see if you have this. If not make contact with that professional and get it!
As regards title I always look for the Fire Safety Certificate. For any commercial premises this is mandatory. We are seeing the effects now of scant regard for this important area and how it will affect the lives of people who have bought apartments and other commercial buildings well into the future.
To recap from a Title perspective check for:
1. Folio or older system
2. Planning permissions: Both Final Grant and Decision to Grant
3. Architects Certificate of Compliance with Planning and Building Regulations!!!
4. Fire Safety Certificate
5. Valuation. I didn’t cover this but it will inform you on how serious the matter is. Obviously if you have built a 5 million fire trap without certification its more serious than a sub-office built back in the day and is only worth a €100,000 due to its location and quality.
Shane Healy, Healy O’Connor Solicitors