Living space in outbuilding

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    Living space in outbuilding

    Hi All,

    Need advice on the property we are buying. This property comes with the outbuilding which is converted into a self-contained studio flat by the existing owners. This outbuilding was built around 6 years back and looking at the planning request it was requested as an office space with WC. However, its a self-contained living space with Kitchen area added to it.

    I just wonder the legality of this change in use from office space to living space. I do not see any planning request for this change of use either.

    From our point of view, we will be looking to rent this space out. Just wondering if it will be possible and what steps do we need to take to make it happen so that we are not falling out of compliance or breaking the rules.

    After 4 years of use as a single dwelling the outbuilding can no longer be enforced against as a breach of planning control, so that such use is then lawful. See Section 171 B Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

    A certificate of lawful use can be applied for if you require confirmation that such use is the lawful use, although there will need to be clear evidence that such use has been taking place for over 4 years prior to when the application for an LDC is made,

    The application will require a fee of £465 and probably some plans showing how the building has been set out to be used as a single dwelling.

    The evidence needed to support the application could be tenancy agreements with the people who lived in the building, or if it was used by a family member, statements of truth from everyone prepared to state their knowledge of such use.

    If there were separate gas, electricity or water bills that would also be useful evidence.

    It will be for the applicant for the LDC to prove such use, but if the evidence is sufficient the local planning authority cannot deny the application based on non conformity to standards expected for a new dwelling to be granted planning permission.
    i.e. Not large enough internal space. Not sufficient parking spaces nor an acceptable amenity area for bins etc.

    It is simply a matter of proving more than 4 years use of the building as a single separate dwelling despite the standard of accommodation actually provided for the occupants.


      Thanks for the detailed reply pilman. very helpful.


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