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    Property Works, and the Consents You Need

    Residential Property Associate Fiona Callaghan details the key things you need to know when considering carrying out any work on your property.

    Given that the majority of us are spending an awful lot of time at home at the moment, you have probably noticed all the works that you would like to do around your home, or you may have decided you want to sell up altogether!

    If you are looking to sell or refinance your home, and have had works carried out or are intending to have works carried out, this guide sets out the paperwork you should have in place to hand over to a purchaser on the future sale of your property.  As a residential property lawyer, one of the biggest headaches on sale and purchase transactions (and refinance transactions) is lack of proper consents for works, particularly where those works are recent. Missing paperwork on property transactions can result in many frustrating delays, so it’s best to have these ready in advance.

    The various types of consents that you may need and a brief description of each are listed below:

    Type of Consent/Approval

    Description

    Enforcement

    Building Regulations Completion Certificate

    This will either be issued by the Building Control Department at your Local Authority OR an approved third-party Building Control Inspector.  This Certificate certifies that the works were carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations in place at the time of the works.

    The enforcement period for lack of Building Regulations is one year. 

    However, if the works are a threat to health and safety, the Local Authority can take enforcement action at any time.

    Build Over Consent

    If your property is close to or over a public sewer or drain you will need the Water Company’s consent to build over/close to the public sewer or drain.

    If works are carried out with Build Over Consent the Water Company usually retains a right to access your property in order to inspect/maintain/repair the public drain or sewer but will be required to make good any damage caused to your property as a result.

    If works are carried out without Build Over Consent the Water Company can access the public drain or sewer if required regardless of whether this causes damage to your property and will not necessarily be obliged to make good any damage caused.  This could also mean that your works may need to be demolished or altered, or your property be reinstated to its previous form to allow for the Water Authority to gain access to the public sewer or drain, or so as not to cause damage to the public sewer or drain.

    Landlord/Freeholder Consent

    If you live in a flat or a leasehold house you should check your lease before carrying out any works, as your works may require prior Landlord/Freeholder Consent (a premium may be charged for this by the Landlord/Freeholder).

    The Landlord/Freeholder can take enforcement action at any time for breach of covenant/lease and require you to reinstate your property to its previous form or charge a premium for consenting to the works retrospectively.

    Listed Building Consent

    If your property is a listed building you will need Listed Building Consent for internal or external works to your property.

    The Local Authority can take enforcement action at any time for breach of or lack of Listed Building Consent. 

    It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without Listed Building Consent.

    Planning Permission

    Any external works that do not fall within ‘permitted development’ will require planning permission.

    Please note if you live in a Conservation Area or if your property is subject to an Article 4 Direction you may need planning permission for works that would not normally require planning permission, such as replacing windows or doors, creating a parking space, painting the outside of the property or installing a satellite dish etc.

    The Local Authority has four years to take enforcement action for carrying out works without planning permission.

    If a condition in a planning permission is breached, the Local Authority has 10 years from the date of the breach to take enforcement action.

    Restrictive Covenant Consent

    There may be a restrictive covenant on the title for your property requiring you to obtain the consent of the beneficiary of that restrictive covenant before carrying out particular works.

    The beneficiary of the restrictive covenant (or their successors in title if the covenant passes to successors in title) can take enforcement action at any time for breach of covenant (if the covenant is still valid) and require you to reinstate the works to their previous form.

     

    The table below sets out some different types of work and what consents may be needed in these circumstances.

    Type of Work

    Potential Consents/Permissions Needed

    Internal Structural Works (such as removal of a load-bearing wall)

    • Building Regulations Completion Certificate
    • Landlord/Freeholder Consent (if you live in a flat or leasehold house and it is a term of your lease)
    • Listed Building Consent (if your property is a listed building)

    Internal Non-structural Work (such as removal of a partition wall that is not load bearing)

    • Landlord/Freeholder Consent (if you live in a flat or leasehold house and it is a term of your lease)
    • Listed Building Consent (if your property is a listed building)

    Extension/Conversion

    • Planning Permission if the works do not fall within ‘permitted development’ or if permitted development rights do not apply to your property
    • Evidence of discharge of any planning conditions contained in the Planning Permission which require written sign off/approval from the Local Authority
    • Building Regulations Completion Certificate
    • Landlord/Freeholder Consent (if you live in a flat or leasehold house and it is a term of your lease)
    • Listed Building Consent (if your property is a listed building)
    • Build Over Consent if the works are over or close to a public sewer or drai
    • Restrictive Covenant Consent (if applicable to your property)

    Replacement of Windows/Doors

    • Building Regulations Completion Certificate or a FENSA Certificate
    • Planning Permission may be required if your property is in a Conservation Area or subject to an Article 4 Direction
    • Listed Building Consent (if your property is listed)
    • Landlord/Freeholder Consent (if you live in a flat or leasehold house and it is a term of your lease)
    • Restrictive Covenant Consent (if applicable to your property)

    Installation of a gas or solid fuel appliance such as a boiler

    • Gas Safe Building Regulations Compliance Certificate (if gas) or equivalent certificate for other fuel appliances such as HETAS or OFTEC
    • Landlord/Freeholder Consent (if you live in a flat or leasehold house and it is a term of your lease)
    • Listed Building Consent (if your property is a listed building)

    Electrical Installation Work

    • NiCEIC Electrical Installation/Building Regulations Compliance Certificate
    • Landlord/Freeholder Consent (if you live in a flat or leasehold house and it is a term of your lease)
    • Listed Building Consent (if your property is a listed building and dependent on the type of works)

    Works to/Removal of Trees

    • Local Authority Consent required if the tree is in a Conservation Area or if it is protected by a Tree Preservation Order

     

    If you are in any doubt as to whether you need consent or permission for your works you should check with your surveyor or the Local Authority before commencing works.

    If you do not have the necessary consents for works carried out previously you should discuss your options with a Solicitor.

    Should you have any questions regarding the above information, or need any residential property related legal advice, please get in contact with Fiona Callaghan on 020 7725 8089 or email fiona.callaghan@seddons.co.uk.

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