Can I apply for a Lawful Development Certificate on a property I don't own?

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    Can I apply for a Lawful Development Certificate on a property I don't own?

    I am considering buying a property which would need a Lawful Development Certificate for change of use.

    Can I apply for this prior to purchasing the property (provided I obtain sufficient evidence) or do I need to rely on the seller to do so?

    #2
    I doubt very much you could apply for a LDC for a property you do not own and/or manage.

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      #3
      Can I apply for this prior to purchasing the property (provided I obtain sufficient evidence) or do I need to rely on the seller to do so?
      That is possible as long as you show the name of the current owner in the Ownership Certificate on the application form and serve a formal notice of the application to that owner as required by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

      Often it is sensible to ensure that you have an option to buy the property if you intend to spend the fees necessary to make an application for the LDC.

      Otherwise you may make a successful application that would allow the Vendor to ask for a higher price, although waiting for minimum of 8 weeks before knowing whether a planning application will be successful is not something a Vendor may want to happen.

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        #4
        Originally posted by vmart View Post
        I doubt very much you could apply for a LDC for a property you do not own and/or manage.
        I'm not sure it's that odd to be able to apply for and LDC on a property you don't own. After all, it is perfectly possible to apply for full planning permission in relation to a property you don't own, and you don't even need the current owner's permission to do so. This recently happened to an acquaintance of mine, who was nonplussed to say the least when she found out that someone entirely unknown to her was applying for planning permission to demolish and redevelop a commercial premises she owns the freehold of and runs her business from, and which she had no intention whatsoever of selling! However, rather inconsistently you can't seem to make a Prior Approval application on a property you don't own, so I wasn't sure that LDCs were the same as that.

        pilman,

        Thank you, that's good to know. Just like full planning permission then.

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          #5
          It is a full planning application.

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            #6
            I am not an expert but I don't think a LDC application is a full planning application. It is used to regularize a situation to be sure existing use of land is lawful; or a proposed use does not require planning permission.

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              #7
              The difference between an application for a Lawful Development Certificate and a planning application for operational development or a change of use is that no reference to current planning policies can be applied, because it is simply a matter of fact, as to whether an existing or proposed use will be lawful.

              As an example. An application that a house converted into two flats is lawful cannot be decided on whether the sizes of the rooms is unacceptable, or that there is no parking spaces, or the required amenity space is unavailable, as would be required for a normal planning application, which needs to comply with local plan policies for such a development.

              If there is clear evidence that the flats were created as two separate dwellings more than 4 years prior to the application for the LDC was made, then that is what the law requires to show this is now a lawful development, because the time for enforcement action had passed.

              That would be why an LDC would have to be issued irrespective of the fact that the flats did not comply with any of the local planning policies.

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                #8
                On a Commercial Property I recently sold the buyer asked for a 12 months contract where it would come off sale and during the 12 month they would apply for Planning Permission and if granted would buy the property within a month for getting permission. They also paid a large non refundable deposit so that if they did not get the permission and pulled out, we kept the deposit.
                Although I know little about Planning Permission (apart from my appeal and having to apply for a Certificate of Lawwful Development) you need to make sure that the owner cant offer it to someone else if you get the permission, and if you use a Chartered Town Planner he will (obviously) have to get a statement from the owner concerning the history
                The Chartered Town Planner I used said that they had never lost one, although .its purely a evidence based application .
                There are some good reference books on the subject, like , Practical Planning Enforcement. .
                Good Luck

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                  #9
                  pilman thank you for your advice again, and Another Fine Mess thank you for your advice too.

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                    #10
                    it is possible but you need to consider that (a) you are potentially increasing the value of something you want to buy; and (b) the seller is not under an obligation to sell to you. If you want to buy and the owner wants to sell what i would normally suggest is either a conditional contract or option so that you can make the planning application and if successful make the seller sell to you for the agreed price

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                      #11
                      it is not necessary to own land for which a planning application is being made but the owner is supposed to be informed. a well known mobile phone company applied for planning to put up 15 metre mask on a slither of land we owned, left over from a development scheme. It falsely stated it to be land owned by the local authority. The mast was up by the time we became aware. Now under the Electronic Communications Code there is a deemed right to put up masts on land abutting the highway and which is technically highway verge. I am told it is practically impossible to do anything about this situation because of the falsity of the applicants. Hey ho! At least there is good signal!

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                        #12
                        That’s incredible that they got away with that!

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                          #13
                          It is I was most displeased to find it there on our land without consent

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