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Don’t embark on home improvements until you’ve ticked all the legal boxes

18 May 2018

Posted in Property

It is fair to say that in the past decade or so the fascination with improving our homes has moved to a new level of interest.

Countless glossy magazines, TV shows and so on, have capitalised on this huge industry as we do our utmost to create our dream homes.

At this time of the year, as we re-emerge from winter, this industry takes on an added lease of life.

According to a study from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) well over a million homeowners are actively looking to build extra space to accommodate grown up children who can’t afford to leave home, as well as those who just wish to add more luxury for themselves.

In fact, nearly a third of homeowners across the UK will carry out work on their home in the next three years with up to £6 billion in projected works planned.

Many of those home improvements are set to be major refurbishments, including extensions, but before you head off to the DIY superstore, we at Pindoria Solicitors have a few words of advice.

Despite a relaxation in planning rules, homeowners still need to make some basic legal checks before they go ahead.

Over the years, amendments to The Town and Country Planning Order have meant that permitted development rights have been extended for home owners, but you need to ensure you know what they are.

In essence, permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission that will allow certain building works and change of use without having to make a planning application.

However, you should proceed with caution. After all, there are strict rules, for example with properties within conservation areas or National Parks, where rules have to be carefully adhered to.

Of course, it is also worth checking to ensure your home is not listed, or that your title deeds don’t contain any covenants which require you to obtain third party consent.

Also, home improvements can be a thorny subject with neighbours, so see that your project does not impact on a neighbour.

We cannot reiterate strongly enough being legal experts in disputes in London, that it makes sense to be courteous and keep neighbours informed of the project.

With so many factors in mind, it would be wise to contact your local planning authority and discuss your proposal before starting on the project. Failing to do that might find you struggling when it comes to selling your home or even changing your mortgage.

Dealing with bureaucracy, like this can appear irritating, but it makes good sense in the long run.

Home improvements need to be done right both from a legal and structural sense.

We hope you bear this in mind if you are one of the many in and around London embarking on such a project. We wish you luck and if you need any advice, don’t hesitate to contact us.