How can I ensure that the kitchen extension of my listed home has the correct approvals?
I am buying a listed building and want to make sure a recent kitchen extension has been done with the proper approvals.
How do I check and protect myself on this front? LP
Before buying a historic property, check that renovation work has been carried out for proper permissions
MailOnline Real estate expert Myra Butterworth replies: Before buying a historic property with a recent kitchen extension, check that the relevant permissions have been requested.
You inherit liability for unauthorized work performed by the seller.
Ultimately, this risk can be completely eliminated by reversing the work carried out – if possible – or by applying for permission for the kitchen extension afterwards.
There are trade-offs that can be made, including looking into non-life insurance that will cover you and the bank against the cost of repairing unauthorized alterations.
And if you’re a cash buyer, you can decide to proceed on the basis that you accept the risk of lack of consent.
Vanessa Rhodes, of law firm Kingsley Napley, said: If you’re looking for a listed home, it’s probably a unique and interesting property with a lot of character. You are correct that being on the list means that there are additional checks on any works on the property.
The National Heritage List for England protects buildings of special architectural or historic interest, which are considered to be of national importance. This means that a permit for a monument is required for all demolition, renovation or extension work on a monument.
Local urban planning authorities grant approval for works on monumental buildings. Where the works have an impact on the appearance of the building, a planning permit may also be required and applied for at the same time.
Think of building an extension or installing new windows and doors.
Below, Vanessa covers what you need to know:
How do I check whether the necessary permissions have been obtained?
Be sure to commission a specialist heritage expert to assess the property and all building permits and permits for the monument to verify that the appropriate permits have been obtained.
This may be in addition to having regular architectural surveys performed or some surveyors will do both in one survey.
The heritage survey should clarify whether the kitchen extension has been approved and what to do if it has not.
You can get heritage experts who do both in one survey and charge the same as a standard building survey, but often clients will commission one alongside the building expert and they are usually a little cheaper.
Heritage surveys also offer advice for historic buildings and historic preservation to help buyers responsible for the practical care of historic buildings.
Your attorney will review the results of the council’s search for the property, showing that all permissions have been obtained from the local planning authority for the property.
They will also check with the seller to verify that the appropriate permits have been obtained and whether any conditions on the monument permit have been met or if there are any pending conditions that are being met.
Your lawyer and heritage expert will also verify that the work was done before the building was listed. If this is the case then there is no problem as no permit for a listed building was required.
Why is checking important?
It is essential to check that the previous owners have obtained the relevant permissions as you assume liability for any unauthorized work they have performed.
Since there is no time limit for enforcement action, you may need to undo the change in the future. So you may need to undo or change the kitchen extension if it is not approved.
This can be costly and can reduce the value and your enjoyment of the property so should be carefully considered before proceeding with the purchase.
It is also a criminal offense not to apply for a permit for a listed building when this is required.
The maximum penalty is two years in prison or an unlimited fine. Not knowing that a building is listed, or claiming that the works were done by a previous owner, is not a defense against criminal proceedings.
Your options as a buyer
As a buyer, you should consider the extent of any liability you may assume before making a purchase.
If you find that work has been done on the property without proper permissions or that the permit conditions for the monument have been violated, you should consider the extent of the breach.
The heritage expert will normally advise you whether you can retroactively obtain a monument permit for the infringement and which infringements could be problematic.
If the kitchen extension is not approved, there are several things you can do as part of the handover process to reduce any stress or anxiety about the consent and ultimately protect yourself.
The way to completely remove the risk is to undo the change – if possible – or by asking you or the seller for permission afterwards for the kitchen extension.
You can choose to enter into a conditional contract with the seller, which states that you will not complete the purchase of the property until the seller has subsequently obtained approval for the kitchen extension if it had not been approved.
Most sellers will be reluctant to agree to this approach because if they apply for retroactive consent and fail, the issue will be brought to the attention of the local planning authority, who will likely issue an enforcement order to the seller. with regard to the changes.
Alternatives include negotiating a price reduction to cover the cost and hassle of obtaining post-approval for the renewal upon completion.
Any price negotiation must include acknowledgment that the buyer accepts the risk of lack of consent, and all liability associated with it.
If you are a cash buyer, you may decide to proceed on the basis that you accept the risk of lack of consent.
However, if you use a mortgage, the bank will require you to take out liability insurance, which will cover you and the bank against the cost of repairing unauthorized alterations.
However, you should discuss the liability insurance policy with your attorney as they often contain provisions that will invalidate the policy if you approach the local planning authority for approval for future works.
For example, making changes to another part of the property and asking for permission could invalidate the policy.
There are some more custom indemnity policies available that can get around this problem, but these policies can be expensive or have a high deductible.
Another factor to keep in mind is that if the kitchen extension was done without proper approval, you in turn will face this issue as part of a future sale of the property unless you and the seller can resolve the issue. now, either by removing or amending the changes or by obtaining retroactive approval.