H&H Planning Services

19th July 2017

If you are selling your property, it is in your interests to make sure that all necessary permissions are in place so as to avoid prospective purchasers’ potentially delaying completion.  It is not uncommon for sales to fall through or be delayed because vendors cannot demonstrate that the necessary approvals have been secured for works to a house.

Although dwellings benefit from certain rights which allow householders to extend or amend their property without an application, there are stringent conditions. If these conditions are not adhered to then planning permission is required. Internal works do not require planning permission but may require building regulations approval. If the building is listed most works either inside or out will require listed building consent.

So what should you do if you haven’t got the necessary consents?
Most building work becomes lawful in planning terms after 4 years, as does changing the use of a building to a house, provided the local planning authority has not begun enforcement action. Other changes of use such as changing agricultural land to domestic garden, require 10 years before they become immune from action. If you can prove the work or change of use has taken place more than 4 or 10 years you can apply for a certificate of lawful development.

Alternatively you can make a retrospective application to authorise the work that has taken place. Either a certificate or planning permission should reassure purchasers that they would not be the subject of enforcement action by the local planning authority. Please note that alterations to listed buildings never achieve immunity so a retrospective application is the only option.

In either case there is a planning fee to be paid and planning authorities often take up to 8 weeks (and sometimes longer) to determine applications, so it would be sensible to seek to regularise unauthorised work as soon as possible and ideally before the property goes on the market.

If you are in doubt about whether planning permission is required for works already carried out, or for proposed works, please contact the H&H Planning Team to confidentially discuss your concerns or visit their website or call into your local H&H King branch to discuss your project in more detail.