Mandy Brown (pictured) is marketing and business development director at Lawsure
Planning permission should always be acquired before making alterations to a property, whether that be residential or commercial. If this isn’t followed, you will need to ensure you have lack of planning permission insurance.
You will need to apply for planning permission from your local council if you are wishing to build something new, such as another building, make a major change like and extension or change the use of your building. There are some exceptions, if unsure, contact your local council.
There may be a case where you advised planning permission is not required. To prove that the building is still legal is it useful to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.
A common misconception buyers have when purchasing a property it that any previous building works are not their responsibility. It seems logical that whoever carried out these alterations should be responsible if the proper paths were not followed.
It is the owner of a property who is responsible for the consequence of planning permission not having been obtained, even if they did not contribute to any alterations.
If your property is found to have a planning breach, the first course of action would be to submit a retrospective application to the local council. If this is approved, you will not need to take further action. However, if it is not then you may have to start seeking legal advice.
There are different repercussions from lack of planning permission. A common enforcement is your local council will get you to return the property to its previous state before building works. But you can also incur fines and even court summons.
Your conveyancer should be requesting all proof of planning permission throughout the transaction and then the originals should be passed to you upon completion. With this should be any building regulation certificates along with all FENSA documentation.
If planning permission documents are not produced by the vendor, your solicitor should be arranging lack of planning permission insurance to cover you should any of these enforcements arise. This can cover potential costs that you could be liable for.
Often it can be agreed that the vendor pays for this or offers an allowance on completion, so you are not out of pocket for their omission. Upon completion, always make sure these policies are forwarded to yourself by your solicitor.