Can you sell a house without planning permission?


Published by Property Saviour
The UK's No.1 Fast House Sale Company


June 5, 2019 - Read time: 3 minutes

If you’re selling a house that needs planning permission, and you don’t have approval from the council, the chances of a quick sale are slim.

If you’re trying to sell your home without planning permission, did you know it’s actually unmortgageable?

That’s right. Properties are unmortgageable if they have had illegal extensions carried out without the permission of the local council or planning department. Read more here.

So, what should you do if you have made alterations to your home that should have had planning permission and you want to sell?

Read our guide and find out the possible outcomes and solutions to your planning permission problems.

What do you need planning permission for?

If you have lived in your home for a number of years, it’s likely you’ve made some alterations to the structure of the building.

Whether it be a conservatory for extra living room, or a conversion in the loft, those small structural changes need approval from the local council in most cases.

How do you know if you need planning permission?

Most of these improvements could be classed as permitted development (PD) – a term given to works which may technically require planning permission but for which permission is deemed to be granted under a general permitted development order. This means that no application for permission has to be made or written consent obtained.

However, the rules surrounding permitted development are quite precise and you may find you have breached them if your home improvements have been extensive.

What are the rules for permitted development?

The legislation set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 as amended by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (England) Order 2008 gives full detail of the changes you can and can’t make without planning permission.

Permitted development means you can add an extension to the side or rear of your house, providing its volume is less than 15% of the size of the original house. If your house is part of a terrace, the permitted size is less than 10% of the original volume.

However, if the extension takes up more than 50% of your garden, is higher than the original roof height or greater in volume than 115 cubic metres, planning permission must be applied for.

In addition, if your home had already been extended from its original size, say by 5%, you would need planning permission to add a further extension if the new extension was greater than 10% (or 5% if a terrace) of the property’s original volume (i.e. a total of 15%/10% of the original house).

There are also rules about the permitted depth of extensions and their distance from the boundary of the property. Listed buildings or houses within conservation areas nearly always require planning permission to be granted before any alterations can be made. Some improvements, while classed as permitted development still need to have Building Regulations approval.

In general, it is responsibility of the person who carried out the work to make sure it complies with the regulations and issue a completion certificate.

What to do if you’re trying to sell a home without planning permission?

When trying to sell a house without planning permission or council approval, there are a number of options.

Get approval

One way to break the vicious circle is to obtain planning permission or approval from the council before going ahead with a sale or putting your home on the market.

There are, however, some drawbacks with this as the regularisation process cannot be used for work that was carried out prior to October 1985.

The process is a double-edged sword as what might have been thought to have been a simple lack of paperwork may turn out to be much more complex and expensive to rectify. When the remedial work is not undertaken, a Certificate of Regularisation will not be issued and it’s unlikely a buyer will want to get involved in such a sticky situation.

Some other issues to take into consideration are that building regulations regularisation can only be obtained from the relevant local authority as private sector.

Getting council approval is expensive

It can also be very expensive. Approved Inspectors aren’t authorised to undertake this work and the council will charge for the service they provide. To make matters worse, the charge will be higher than the one they would have raised at the time the application should have been made. (This is done deliberately as an incentive to applicants to make submissions in a timely manner.)

Nevertheless, only by making a regularisation application can the applicant find out definitively what is non-compliant with their building works.

In an even worse case scenario, the council may request you restore the structure of the building back to it’s original state. This not only costs thousands of pounds and months of time, it could also massively decrease the value of your property, and it’s a risk that a lot of people aren’t willing to take.

It can also take months to get approval

If you want a fast house sale, seeking approval isn’t going to be quick or easy. It can take months for the council or inspectors to get in touch with you regarding your request, and even then, there’s still no guarantee of approval. If you don’t have time to hang around, here’s what to do.

What do other sellers in a similar situation do? They let us help.

Let us help

If you’re struggling to sell a house without planning permission or council approval and you don’t want to go through the expensive, time-consuming task of getting it regulated, Property Saviour can help.

We understand that sometimes you don’t have time to wait and you can’t risk putting your house on the market without knowing you’ll walk away with a fair price and a guaranteed sale.

Many people consider auctions, but that’s just as risky, not to mention very expensive. Read our auction guide here.

What do we do at Property Saviour?

At Property Saviour, we buy any home regardless of the condition and we don’t mind if there’s unsolved planning regulations.

We buy properties for personal use, not on the behalf of investors and we promise to give you the fastest sale on the property market – with a turnaround time of just 10 days.

We also understand that the value of your home is incredibly important, and we wouldn’t want to see you walk away out of pocket. That’s why we promise to beat any genuine cash offers and we’ll even pay £500 towards your legal fees.

If you’re in a real hurry, we offer a house clearance service completely free of charge. We do this because we want selling your home to be easy and stress-free, and most importantly, because we care.

Get in touch for some free advice.

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