annexe built without planning

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    annexe built without planning

    Hi. About 7 years ago I converted my garage into a studio flat for my brother to live In as he couldn't afford the ridiculous rents around here in South east London.
    He paid for the work to be done and has lived there since rent free.
    The garage is part of a single story side extention already built when I purchased the house.
    I removed the garage door and put a front door on it .
    The garage had a toilet in and was uses as a utility room and lots of storage.
    I battened out the walls which are the big white thermal type and the floor is concrete.I plaster bordered all the walls and screwed 18mm plywood to the floor.
    I put a kitchen in there and built a shower room out of stud wall and kitted it out with sink toilet shower. ..
    There was already electric sockets all around the garage so these we not touched .I got an electrician in to install the electric shower and the extractor fan.
    The other side towards the back of the room is where the bed is and tv on the wall etc.
    After all these years we get a knock on the door from a planning officer from the council...we were not in so she has left a card for us to call. We have done and she is coming next week.
    my question is am I pretty much going to be made to restore it back to its original state. Such a shame the room works lovely we've had no issues and I can't put my brother on the street...sorry got the long winded post...
    Can anyone give me any information that could be of help to me.

    my question is am I pretty much going to be made to restore it back to its original state.

    Your answer is Yes, you will be made to reinstate.

    If you did not get permission to convert the garage into a self contasined flat, with it's own address and postcode ( post code same as yours ) you will be told to convert it back int a garage.

    You cannot have a kitchen and a shower in a garage and have someone live in it as their home.

    Garages can be an extension to the main house and be a snooker room, swimming pool, but not a self contained flat, nor with a kitchen and shower.

    Remove what to have to ( by order ) then go through the process of an application to add another room, just put a bed in there, but a fold up bed, Wardrobes and chest of draws ( Oh, that's just a spare bed we store in here.) then let your brother wash cook and eat in your home.



      So basically a garage cannot be converted into a studio with a separate address in any situation?


        Grovel like mad so you don't end up with a big fine.


          Originally posted by garthy80 View Post

          So basically a garage cannot be converted into a studio with a separate address in any situation?
          Can be: With planning permission, building regs, adherence to all applicable laws: You know, the correct way...
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


            Originally posted by garthy80 View Post
            So basically a garage cannot be converted into a studio with a separate address in any situation?
            As others have stated, you CAN have permission to have a self contained flat, but I assumed you did not want to go through the process of either having to convert back ( that is the cheapest option ) and maybe a fine.

            Or being allowed to apply for retrospective permision to make a self contained flat, and maybe a fine.

            I have heard that if the house / flat has a lease, you will not be allowed to have a self contained flat in a garage, but you may be able to build on top of the garage and make a studio with it's own address.

            Google "rules on converting a garage" and pick the Government sites.


              Most of the responses so far are totally incorrect about the lawfullness of this conversion.

              A conversion that has been established as a single dwelling for more than 4 years is then immune from enforcement action by the local planning authority and then becomes lawful.

              That means that there can be no action taken by the LPA, so the previous comments about compulsory restoration to a garage and fines being levied is just wrong.

              Evidence needs to be provided that the conversion was completed more than 4 years ago using invoices from the builder or from local buildersmerchants for the materials used.

              You and your brother will need to make statements of truth confirming the date when occupation started as a single dwelling totally separate from the original house.

              That does not mean totally separate services being provided, rather it means occupation by someone who did not need to pass through the existing house to gain access to the studio flat created.

              Planning law is quite clear about such conversions.
              After 4 years nothing can be done about the breach of planning control, although there is a possibility that building control requirements can be dealt with separately by another department within the local council.

              If it is a planning office who has left a card then clarify to that person the length of time that the flat has been used for niow makes it a lawful dwelling, despite no planning permission ever having been granted.

              You may be told that you need to make an application for a Lawful Development Certificate so that a document is issued to confirm that current use is lawful, but that is not compulsory. Many LPA's make such an application sound essential, but it is just another fee that needs to be paid to have confirmation of what Section 171B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by the Planning and Compensation act 1991, already makes clear.
              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.


                This is music to my ears...thanks so much.
                When they do come round I will have a bit of ammunition.


                  Have you informed your lender ? particularly as you have now created a multi unit property , with or without planning permission , also what about he property insurance. Have you declared the rent on your tax return?

                  Sorry to say that whatever is decided upon by the authorities you get what you deserve , no matter how ultruistic your initial intentions were the fact remains that you have totally ignored the protocols , think about all those in South and West London who have done similar "conversions " in order to house migrants and extort high rents , do you think these landlords deserve leniency I think not


                    Loanranger. I have not told my lender because I don't have one and I have never made any money from this as my brother still lives there . This was done to help him save for his own place which he should be in the position to do next summer..
                    I done this thinking as I have not changed the buildings structure I am only adapting it's use so I thought I didn't need planning.
                    This isn't like those shacks built down the end if gardens etc
                    It's connected to the main property and powered and heated by it.
                    When my brother goes my son can use it as he will be 18 and wants a not of independence privacy etc.
                    Until I posted on here the planning Dept more or less said I had to submit a full planning application for retrospective permission.
                    Which according to the town and country planning act I now seem to have a loophole.
                    This building was in use and in plain view of the public for 7 years.never any issues with parking as our drive can fit 5 cars and the neighbours are very nice...have a nice day...


                      You need to be a bit careful about the "plain view of the public" element.
                      From the sound of it, there's a large drive with several cars parked on it, you don't want the local authority to start making a big deal of this.

                      Planning departments have wide discretionary powers and you don't want to find yourself in court arguing this with an expensive legal team supporting you.
                      I suspect that the time limit is going to be on your side, but you never know.
                      And, while your neighbours may be nice, there's some reason the planning department are interested - they were't just passing and noticed the front door...

                      I'd be appropriately cautious and apologetic to the planning department.
                      I'd actually suggest that you get a lawful development certificate as a) it's a good result for the planning people and allows them to record a positive outcome and b) removes an issue if you do need to sell or mortgage the property in the future.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                        annexe built without planning

                        Hi I posted recently regarding this
                        Basically I had converted my garage into an annexe for my brother to live in.
                        Own front back door etc .
                        This was 7 years ago and only a month or so ago planning got in touch to say it had been built without permission.
                        I explained my reasons and quoted information given on here regarding time limits from the town and country planning act.

                        They requested receipts and sworn affidavit from neighbours on when it was built and in use.

                        My neighbours all wrote in.

                        And today I get a council tax bill for it as 31A and I'm 31 the main house.
                        One band under what I pay and charged from when they noticed it!

                        I will pay this as it's 375 quid.

                        Does this mean they have accepted it?

                        They haven't been in touch since and I don't want to bother them.
                        I don't mind paying council tax on it going forward.!!!

                        How do I register the property as 31A for postal reasons?



                          Two related threads have been merged
                          I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating


                            Hi there.

                            Thanks for your response

                            Just picking your brain for info if this I hope is OK .

                            The situation is the local authority have requested letters from neighbours confirming they know of it being used as a separate dwelling for last 7 years.
                            5 have written in to that affect.

                            I received a council tax bill for the annex last week for 375 quid band c and addressed to me at the number 31 but on the bill it details it as 31A!! For the period of when they found out about it to end of this tax year . And then I'm sure I'll have a new one for next year soon.

                            Does this sound like they have accepted defeat! and are going to let me keep it
                            The fact they have detailed it as 31A dies this mean I can use it as a postal address.
                            How do I register it as a separate dwelling if allowed.



                              The evidence provided to the LPA was sufficent to confirm that the annexe was lawful under current planning law, so that the council have now accepted that this is a separate dwelling liable to Council tax.

                              The band for council tax purposes is based on the value of the individual property, as I found out when I built the second floor of my house as a one bedroom flat for my adult daughter. I didn't realise that this annexe for a family member would be liable to its own separate council tax band, but when the Valuation Office Valuer came to value the newly built house for Council Tax purposes, it was the Valuer who pointed out that because there was a separate entrance at the side of the house that led directly to the second floor flat it required a separate Council Tax banding and bill in the future.

                              When I received confirmation from the Council that there was to be two separate properties recorded, the flat was band A and the house was band G.

                              I then wrote to the council disputing the assessement of band G for the house because it was not a "detached house" as stated on the valuation report.
                              I argued that it was part of a building comprising a large apartment on the first two floors and separate apartment located on the second floor.

                              Based on that argument the Tax band was reduced from Band G to Band F.

                              It appears that you also could make a similar argument. The converted part of the original house is now a separate dwelling that ought to be band A, because value is based on what the valueof a one bedroom flat would have been in 1991. Then it would have been under £40,000 which is the Band A limit.
                              A single occupant also ought to receive a discount based on single occupancy that will be 75% of the full rate.
                              There may also be specific discounts for annexes occupied by family members.

                              Your original house rate can be disputed if the original garage is no longer part of the house, so that the original value has now been diminished.
                              That valuation will also be based on what a house was worth in 1991.

                              You may want to Google "Council tax on annexes" to see if the bill now issued for 31A for the remainder of this tax year can be reduced, because the full year tax from April to April on Band C will be a lot higher and may not be correct.
                              See this web-site for information about values.

                              Who allowed the Valuation Office Valuer access to the house?
                              Did you accompany that Valuer when they a came to examine the separate annexe and the original house in its changed form?
                              Did the Council even have it valued as Band "C" because that would have been a very expensive one bedroom flat in 1991, or was that a "guesstimated" valuation by the council acting independently of the Valuation Office Agency?

                              On the separate matter of a postal address, one normally contacts a department in the council that deals with this and pays a fee to have the council confirm to the stautory authorities and the Post office that a new dwelling exists with its own separate postal address.
                              In my area it was the Building Control Department that did this and the fee was £85 the last time I needed to have a new house address recorded back in 2007.

                              You will need to phone your Council to find out which department deals with this and the fee now payable.

                              I hope this helps you resolve the matter.


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