Certificate of Lawfulness - House used as two flats

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    Certificate of Lawfulness - House used as two flats

    Hi there,

    My friend and I jointly own a property. We have a mortgage on this and we have not been living at the property due to various reasons.

    We split the house in to two self contained flats without permission from the council. It’s been about six years now.

    I read up on applying for a certificate of lawfulness for the conversion. The application doesn’t seem to be difficult as it’s details of the property and plans (which I suppose I can ask to be drawn up) And I have tenancy agreements and some bills for the years but we have only been paying council tax as a single residential house. I can obtain affidavits from the tenants as to the flats.

    I looked on the planning portal as to the applications made by others for the certificate of lawfulness. They seem to have a VOI letter? I am not sure what this is.


    My question is:

    1) How would I go about getting this VOA letter ?
    2) Is it worthwhile asking the council to provide two separate council tax bills for the flats? (Is this necessary?)
    3) Will the lender be informed about the request for the certificate of lawfulness?
    4) Would I need to provide anything else to make the application stronger so the outcome is successful?

    if anybody has had experience with something similar or can assist and help with advice then I would be grateful

    thank you









    #2
    When I divided a house into two flats, the local council were notified.
    The Valuation Office Agency was informed by the Council, so that a Valuation Officer came to inspect the two separate dwellings already created.
    The Officer's assessment was provided to the Council's Rates department and council tax was paid on each flat after the first bills were received.

    You have not informed the Council's Rates department so that no VOA involvement has occurred.

    An application for an LDC will require evidence of more than 4 years use as two single dwellings, which will prove that enforcement action cannot be taken, so that the current use is the lawful use for planning purposes as Use Class C3 - Dwellinghouses.

    What I found was that the Rates Department did not inform planning department about the new dwellings having been created in breach of planning control, so many years later when I applied for the LDC in order to sell the building with two flats in it, it was the council tax bills as well as the tenancy agreements that provided the evidence, with statements of Truth provided by myself and my wife to confirm the use of the two flats for more than 4 years. It also helped that several of the tenants had been in receipt of housing benefit payments by the council, so different departments of the same council provided most of the evidence needed to ensure the issue of the LDC.

    There would be no need to refer to the mortgage company when you complete the application form for the LDC, although you need to be aware that the Mortgagee will not be happy if it discovers that you have converted the house that is the security for the mortgage amount borrowed.

    That is a separate matter you need to be aware of, but it is doubtful that an application to the local planning authority will be known about by the mortgagee.

    The application is all about providing sufficient evidence of the fact that more than 4 years have passed since the use of the two flats started.

    It matters not that planning permission would not have been granted due to lack of parking spaces or sufficient private amenity spaces being provided for each flat. It is simply a matter of planning law that enforcement action cannot be started after 4 years, thus making the use lawful use.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for the above post, that was very helpful.


      As we have everything bills and tenancy agreements, I can obtain affidavits etc but just not the council tax bills for the two flats being separate, so I am not sure if this will be the stumbling block and the application would be refused.

      The correspondence you had was it all addressed to the flats as opposed to just the address e.g. 2 Howards Close ?

      In your opinion, do you think it is worthwhile to get the council tax bills for both flats from now onwards (prior to the LDC application)?

      I want to ensure I don't open a can of worms and the application is rejected for something ridiculous that I have overlooked.

      Thank you once again.

      Comment


        #4
        Council tax is not an issue, I had similar that had been converted for ten years and they didn't even ask for one years council tax back. But I wonder why you want to do it now ? Unless you need to sell (in which case you would also have to tell lender) I can see no point in doing it
        I would just keep all evidence (separate utility bills, ast's, 2 TV licences and dated photos are good) and wait till they come after you.
        At some point your area will get selective licensing and your hand will be forced so just get all evidence in preparation.

        Comment


          #5
          You need to be aware that a conversion flat needs Building Regulations Approval not least for fire prevention, fire escape and noise control.

          Comment

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