Selling a house can be stressful and exciting all at the same. It needs a lot of planning and research on the property markets to make a good decision regarding property selling. Whether you are a professional in this sector or a first-time seller, there are various crucial things you need to understand.
The most important and first things to confirm are the requirements of selling a home and where you stand when it comes to the Fensa certificate. If you have ever bought, sold or rented a house before, then a Fensa certificate is something you have encountered before.
What is a Fensa Certificate?
Fensa is an acronym that sounds so complicated to many people. In simple terms, it stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. It was established to follow up and make sure that the construction companies met the building regulations specifically those that deal with doors and windows installation.
Fensa came about as a result of the new building regulations that were introduced in the month of April 2002. The regulations required that the new double glazed windows, doors or roof lights should comply with them and also meet certain thermal performance standards.
To go deeper in the terms, the Fensa certificate can be technically defined as a “Competent person scheme”. This is because; the certificate is used to show that the installers of doors and windows are competent in their work and comply with the building requirements.
Besides Fensa, the local authority building controls can also assess and certify new doors and windows installation. Fensa gives the property owner the certificate as well as register the assessed installation to the local authorities on behalf of the property owner. This certificate serves the owner as long as the doors and windows last. Fensa installers offer an insurance backed guarantee of up to 10 years meaning that it can also stand as an evidence guarantee to the property owner.
Why do you need a Fensa Certificate?
It is not just okay to have a Fensa certificate; it is very important to have it. Having one means that you are working with a company of professional installers that have met the required legal requirements necessary to protect you.
Keep in mind that having a Fensa certificate means that you are asking for that professional doors and windows installer, an installer who complies with the building regulations, register the installation as a result and get a warranty with insurance on top.
How to get a Fensa Certificate.
Doors and windows installers should provide the homeowner with a copy of the Fensa certificate assuming they were/are members of the scheme. In case they never issued one or might have gotten lost, a Fensa certificate can be obtained from Fensa’s website at a small cost.
You can also check for free from the site whether a house you are buying or selling has a Fensa certificate. You only need to provide the house number and the postcode to run this check.
What does the Fensa certificate have to do with buying and selling a house?
When it comes to buying and selling of property, there are a number of questions asked by the conveyancers through a standard inquiry form. The answers to these questions are then used to determine whether everything is in order and identify any associated problems.
One of these questions relates to any new windows installed or replaced since the year 2002. If there is any then the owner is required to attach the Fensa certificate to support this. It is necessary to attach any other equivalent certificates. The process will be smoother when these certificates are provided compared to when they are not. The sales processes in the absence of a Fensa certificate may take longer as the conveyancers do further inquiries.
What exactly happens when you do not have a Fensa Certificate?
The following are reasons why a home could be missing a Fensa certificate:
- If the doors and windows installation was done before 1st April 2002. It also applies if doors and windows were ordered before 1st April 2002 but installation completed by 30th June the same year. In such cases, you do not need a Fensa certificate to show building regulations compliance.
- The doors and windows installed after 1st April 2002, the options could be:
o The doors and windows were certified by a different scheme
o The doors and windows were certified directly by the building control officers
o The doors and windows were not certified at all
In such cases, it means that the installations were done by an installer, DIY householder or a builder who never bothered to certify his/her work.
Are there possible solutions to not having a Fensa certificate?
Not having a Fensa certificate at hand does not mean that your property becomes unsaleable. There are solutions to that which include:
- Have a building control officer visit your home and certify the installation assuming that everything meets the standard requirements. In this event, expect a fee to be charged.
- The conveyancer involved can check with the local authority through the search results that will be done as part of the transaction. The search can show all the details of installation including if the certification was done, how and by whom.
- The property buyer can obtain indemnity insurance from an established insurance company. The insurance should cover the costs involved in a case enforcement action is taken towards installations that never complied with the building regulations.
It is not an offense to buy or sell a home that is non-compliant with the building regulations. Even if it is not a crime, the people involved in doing the work can face problems if the installation does not comply with Building Regs. The owner can also receive an enforcement notice from the local authority ordering him to fix any non-compliant work done. In other cases, the local authorities fix the problems themselves and make the owner pay for it.
How do you get a competent installer?
If you are building a new house and you are looking for a competent installer to fix the doors and windows, you can get them from the Fensa’s website at https://www.fensa.org.uk/glazing-installer-search. It is also advisable to get recommendations from family and friends or other people in your circle. Ask them about their satisfaction with the work done and if the installers they are recommending have Fensa certificates. You could also seek references from the installer (previous customers), talk to them and have them explain to you the scheme they use to certify their jobs.
Always keep in mind that cheap is not the best and good installers are always on demand. Make sure you get at least three quotations from different companies or persons and compare them as you do your research about them.
Before you sign a contract with the installer, check their warranty and ensure that they have enough insurance coverage. Local installers who are registered by a competent scheme like Fensa are required to provide warranty insurance to cover their work in case the scheme stops operating within the warranty period.
Make sure you obtain the quotes, the timeframe for the work and any agreement that they will provide Fensa certificate all in writing. The contract should be clear and done in writing with the set completion time to avoid confusion that might arise later.
If the company asks for a deposit, make sure they offer indemnity for the deposit and a valid receipt of the deposit. Be careful not to exceed the value of the indemnity of the installers deposit insurance. If possible, do not give any cash upfront unless you have deposit protection insurance. Otherwise, you will face a lot of problems recovering the money in case problems arise later on. If you have to make the payment upfront, make sure you use a credit card. This will help you when claiming if anything goes wrong.
Getting an installer registered with Fensa is very important. The certification assures you that you are working with professionals who have met the building regulations. Make sure you check the following three things or use a professional to help you out.
- The installer has Fensa certificate as an assurance that they comply with the necessary regulations
- Fensa certificate also assures you that the installations will be registered with the local council.
- Verify that the Installers’ warranty is insured in case anything goes wrong thereafter.