Who's responsible for retrospective planning/Building Regs?

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    #16
    Re: planning permission / certificate of lawful use, can somebody confirm whether it needs to be 4 years or 10 years that have elapsed?
    To clarify, the building was orginally a house. In the 1970s it was split into two flats (with planning permission). Sometime around 2004 the top flat was split again from one flat into two (without planning permission). One of those flats is the one we bought. So is this a change of use or not? Four years or ten?
    I'm totally confused.
    In the meantime, we're looking for a good solicitor...

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      #17
      Originally posted by zula View Post
      Re: planning permission / certificate of lawful use, can somebody confirm whether it needs to be 4 years or 10 years that have elapsed?
      To clarify, the building was orginally a house. In the 1970s it was split into two flats (with planning permission). Sometime around 2004 the top flat was split again from one flat into two (without planning permission). One of those flats is the one we bought. So is this a change of use or not? Four years or ten?
      I'm totally confused.
      In the meantime, we're looking for a good solicitor...
      Zula. I think you are probably looking for too much certainty on this board. The area of law which is relevant to you is not absolutely clear and is open to interpretation by local councils. Your first port of call should be to request in writing what your local council thinks is the appropriate test (preferably without disclosing the site address).

      Regardless of whether their interpretation is correct, if they say it is 4 years then that should suit you and you should get on with finding someone to arrange the relevant application. The example I sent you for Newport Council clearly states that their interpretation is that 4 years are required for conversion and subdivision unless it is converted to an HMO in which case it is 10 years (because that constitutes a change of use).

      If your council says 10 years - then you will need to take further advice on whether to challenge this.

      This kind of uncertainty is not uncommon at a local level. Permitted Development rights and rules are laid down in statute yet, as a developer, I find that even with neighbouring councils their interpretation of what the legislation actually permits can differ widely. It remains so because it is rarely challenged in court.

      That is why you are getting lots of different answers.
      Assume I know nothing.

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        #18
        There are 2 seperate issues. I would first find someone who does plans for building regulations, get them in for an inspection and if the work required is not too expensive get it done. So when your application goes in accompanied by the drawings that your flat complies to the 2010 Building Regs the council inspector will accept this.

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          #19
          Let's clear up one or two of the postings by confirming that a change of use from one dwelling to two dwellings is exempt from enforcement action after 4 years.
          This is as the result of section 171B of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991.
          171B Time limits

          (1) Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the carrying out without planning permission of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date on which the operations were substantially completed.

          (2) Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the change of use of any building to use as a single dwellinghouse, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date of the breach.

          (3) In the case of any other breach of planning control, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of ten years beginning with the date of the breach.

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by pilman View Post
            Let's clear up one or two of the postings by confirming that a change of use from one dwelling to two dwellings is exempt from enforcement action after 4 years
            In the bit you've quoted, that looks like changing from two to one, though? A different matter and more likely to be contentious (eg more cars parked on the street etc)

            Comment


              #21
              No Eric it doesn't mean that at all.

              Every time someone divides up a building into numerous flats, each flat becomes a separate dwelling for planning purposes from the moment of creation.
              Section 171(B)2 is clarifying that no enforcement action can be taken against each of the separate flats after 4 years.

              This is the absolute truth, honest guv!

              Comment


                #22
                Hi everyone
                Just wanted to let you know that 9 months on, we’re still waiting for our solicitors (Healys - avoid them at all costs!) to pull their finger out.
                It’s taken them 9 months and they are now asking us to provide documents for the certificate of lawful use application which we cannot possibly obtain – i.e. the council tax bills of the previous owner of the other flat. He defaulted on his mortgage several years ago and fled the country. Seems like the Council won’t give us the certificate without this information (to prove “continuous use” of both flats as separate entities for 4 years), so god knows what we do now.
                Still getting mixed messages on the building regs issue. Solicitors have offered us an indemnity policy for that, but it was contingent on getting the certificate of lawful use sorted. If we can’t get the certificate of lawful use, we can’t get the policy to cover us for the lack of building regs. Now I’ve read on “planning portal” that enforcement action on building regs has to be taken by the council within 2 years from completion of the work, so it seems like it’s purely hypothetical, but who knows. We need legal advice to get to the bottom of all this but we can’t afford to shell out thousands more for a new solicitor. Does anybody know roughly how much we’d be charged for advice on this? Hundreds of pounds? Thousands?
                In the meantime, our plans to start a family have to stay on hold until we can resolve this and sell the damn place as we can’t fit a baby in with us in a one room flat! I’m so furious at those incompetent, immoral b*st*rds who screwed this all up in the first place and now have no intention of fixing it. We’re totally powerless against them.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Post #22 is potentially libellous and has been reported to LZ.
                  zula: remove the words parenthesised in lines 1/2.
                  JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                  1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                  2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                  3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                  4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                  Comment


                    #24
                    You may find the proof you need at the Land Registry, or indeed from the previous mortgage provider. Even the councils our Council Tax records are viable proof.

                    Primarily, the costs of regularisation (Building Regs) and Enforcement (Planning) are the responsibility of the property owner. Whether this owner has a legal claim for compensation from a third party (builder or solicitor for example) is a seperate issue.
                    There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                    If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                    Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      You need to consider that the Council has many departments.
                      The Planning section will not ask the Council Tax section for evidence on your behalf, you need to contact that section and ask them what date the flat was inspected by the Valuation Officer from HMRC who set the Council Tax Band following their site visit to see what the flat comprised of.
                      The fact that they were satisfied that there was a separate dwelling in existence on that date, is proof of when the flat became a separate dwelling for planning purposes as well as Council Tax purposes.
                      You can also ask the Council Tax section when Council Tax payments were first made following the Band assessment.
                      They will provide this information, as I found out when I applied for a Certificate of Lawful Use.
                      The Land Registry Title Register has a date on it showing when it was first registered as a separate dwelling and when you became registered Proprietor.
                      It is possible to ask the LR for details of the previous Proprietor and the Mortgage Lender. You could then write to the mortgage lender and ask if they could confirm when they had the property valued and when they lent against that, but the fact that they did lend money against that security on the date shown on the old LR Title Register is proof that the dwelling existed from that date.

                      These copies are probably going to cost about £8 when you complete a form and send a cheque to Land Registry.
                      See their web-site for details of what form and how much, as it could be £12.

                      Use that information to prove that 4 years have elapsed since there was a separate dwelling in existence. That should satisfy the legal requirement of the Town and Country Planning Act as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 which was posted earlier.
                      It is strictly a legal matter of being able to prove that enforcement action can no longer be taken by the Local Planning Authority.

                      If the electric, gas and water is separate for your flat ask these Utility companies when they started supplying to the flat.

                      If you are unhappy with your solicitor, write letters to each of these yourself.

                      Comment

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