Advice for an Unusual Extension

Building and extention on the rear of a semi detached house

We have helped many people with queries and questions by giving them the best specific advice for their projects.

One of our customers asked us. “I was wondering if you could give me some advice on an issue I have discovered. I am looking to purchase a house that has an extension on the rear, that has been built to plans externally. But internally they have added a 2nd floor which is not in the plans. How would I proceed with this?”

At Planning2Build UK we took this matter very seriously to give our customer the best advice and quickly for them. We consulted our team and the customers local planning authority to get the correct information for that area.

Our advice:

The main planning concern you have is any external changes to the planning permission, some things may not have required planning approval. But there would be no harm in you checking with the council. This can be regularised by a Material Amendment/Minor Material Amendment if needed, or an indemnity policy could be provided. But if there are external changes that are not compliant with the permission, but have stood for more than 4 years it is typically immune from enforcement.

Assuming this is not a listed building, in a conservation area, or other planning controls, you need to first check with the local council whether building control that consent was required for the internal works. They will advise you too:

  • Find out whether Building Regulations were approved for the works, or if at any stage inspections were undertaken.
  • Seek a Lawful Development Certificate from the Local Planning Authority to confirm that the amended design is within planning legislation. Usually, issued within 8 weeks of an application being registered as valid.

If you cant get either one or both, this may affect the ability of you being able to obtain a mortgage on the property and can also delay the completion of the transaction.

If you have the address you can check if an application was submitted on the B&H Council website, you can use this link to see if they have. (You could also do this for any area you are in)

You can apply for retrospective approval, but if it’s not been built by regulations then the council can enforce repair/remedial works which could be very costly.

If you are willing to take the risk and not get retrospective approval, you will find it difficult to sell on, and some mortgage providers will not lend if there is no approval in place. And it will be picked up by the Conveyancer / Solicitor.

You can also get Building Regulations indemnity insurance, this protects the new homeowners and subsequent owners against legal action if the local authority serves a building regulation enforcement notice. The insurance can cover the legal costs or fees associated with this.

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