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Help needed 're Planning minefield

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Supernick, 4 May 2017.

  1. Supernick

    Supernick

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    Hi guys.. ..looking for a bit of help 're the following (long version short here)

    I have recently purchased a 1 bed top floor flat. This flat originally formed part of a larger maisonette above a shop

    The flat I purchased was obviously a large bedroom at the top of the building. It has a dormer and velux window already and the building is from 1960.

    It now has the bedroom, small living room / kitchenette and a bathroom

    However it now transpires that no planning permission ever went in for changing the maisonette into 2 flats and was only changed recent I think 're layout

    Where do I stand with using / renting / selling the property (is it a flat, unit, bedroom ??)

    Or worth speaking to the owner of the flat below (who is in the same boat now as he too has recently purchased the 1st floor flat )

    If anyone can help re suggestions as this is a complete head ****

    Thanks
     
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  3. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    When was it changed from a maisonette to two flats? How did you find out and surely the searches when you bought it showed it to be a maisonette?
     
  4. Supernick

    Supernick

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    It was only in last 18 months it was changed from what I have discovered

    Unfortunately the conveyancer failed to identify the issue.... (which I am seeking additional advice on)
     
  5. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    When were the actual physical changes to the building made? (If 4 or more years ago and not deliberately concealed then planning permission tends to become moot). More importantly, when are you sueing your conveyancer and what else did they miss? Fairly basic test really- 'my client is purchasing part of a house. Does this part of a house exist?'

    EDIT. Living in it I suspect wouldn't be a big deal, renting it out would probably work as well. Selling it on (to someone with a competent conveyancer) could be an issue- that's why you'll be chasing your conveyancer for whatever you paid for the place- an asset that doesn't lawfully exist isn't going to have a value :) (Unless you're the Bank of England or a politician)
     
  6. napoleondynamite

    napoleondynamite

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    Wow the solicitor didn't even check whether the flat was lawful / had planning permission?! They must be liable in that circumstance.

    As per posts above, if the flat remains in situ for 4 years it would normally gain lawful status at that point. At present however it sounds like you own an unauthroised flat and a potential enforcement case.
     
  7. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    Where'd you get that from ND?
     
  8. motorbiking

    motorbiking

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    have you contacted the planning dept? if not. don't. you need independent legal advice with a view to claiming from your solicitor.
     
  9. Supernick

    Supernick

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    Thanks for your replies

    When I called the solicitor and said I didn't think planning had been sought (nothing on planning portal and it wasn't on land registry) and council didn't have a record of it....she replied "oh 5hit"

    Anyway will have to persevere 're any negligence claim. I've spoken to a "no win no fee" company who seem keen !!

    As for the flat I hope to be allowed to at least let it out. Recoup some monies.
     
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  11. wessex101

    wessex101

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    In terms of Planning, sub-dividing a flat is probably not the most contentious alteration, especially if it was a maisonette above a shop, so it might not be all that bad.

    However, I assume it also does not have Building Regulations approval so that could be a problem. Were fire precautions and sound proofing upgraded between the new flats? Does the means of escape comply?

    As others have suggested don't alert the Council just yet and get legal advice regarding your conveyancer and your surveyor and the previous vendor as I assume they lied on the property information form.
     
  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Conversions to flats above shops are most likely to be PD, so no permission would be needed. There are a few provisios, but otherwise it's normally OK to do.
     
  13. motorbiking

    motorbiking

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    I'm assuming you've had utility and council tax bills and have your own postal address? Its normally the street names and numbering dept who alert planning and revenue for council tax. I assume your neighbour is in the same boat.
     
  14. Supernick

    Supernick

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    The other flat downstairs is down for council tax, gas and electric

    The council had / have no record of my property

    Utilities are ok to supply a new meter (gas and electric)
     
  15. Seafarer1966

    Seafarer1966

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    Re: a former post it's important to note that Planning and Building Regulations are separate. The Council Building Control Dept. may have had a building notice. They often don't communicate well with Planning Depts.
     
  16. napoleondynamite

    napoleondynamite

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    Good point- Class G of Part 3 of the GPDO has, since the 1 October 2012, permitted the formation of up to two flats above a shop subject to some restrictions (see below). So planning permission may not have been required.

    Permitted development
    G. Development consisting of a change of use of a building—
    (a) from a use for any purpose within Class A1 (shops) of the Schedule to the Use Classes
    Order, to a mixed use for any purpose within Class A1 (shops) of that Schedule and as up to
    2 flats;
    (b) from a use for any purpose within Class A1 (shops) of the Schedule to the Use Classes
    Order, to a mixed use for any purpose within Class A2 (financial and professional services)
    of that Schedule and as up to 2 flats;
    (c) from a use—
    (i) for any purpose within Class A2 (financial and professional services) of the Schedule
    to the Use Classes Order, or
    (ii) as a betting office or a pay day loan shop,

    to a mixed use for any purpose within Class A2 (financial and professional services) of that
    Schedule and as up to 2 flats;
    (d) where that building has a display window at ground floor level, from a use—
    (i) for any purpose within Class A2 (financial and professional services) of the Schedule
    to the Use Classes Order, or
    (Page 40 of 205)
    (ii) as a betting office or a pay day loan shop,
    to a mixed use for any purpose within Class A1 (shops) of the Schedule to the Use Classes
    Order and as up to 2 flats;
    (e) from a use as a betting office or a pay day loan shop to a mixed use as a betting office or a
    pay day loan shop and as up to 2 flats.

    Conditions

    G.1 Development permitted by Class G is subject to the following conditions—
    (a) some or all of the parts of the building used as a betting office or pay day loan shop or for any
    purposes within Class A1 or Class A2, as the case may be, of the Schedule to the Use Classes
    Order is situated on a floor below the lowest part of the building used as a flat;
    (b) where the development consists of a change of use of any building with a display window at
    ground floor level, the ground floor must not be used in whole or in part as a flat;
    (c) a flat must not be used otherwise than as a dwelling (whether or not as a sole or main
    residence)—
    (i) by a single person or by people living together as a family, or
    (ii) by not more than 6 residents living together as a single household (including a household
    where care is provided for residents).
     
  17. chappers

    chappers

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    very true but the class of the commercial premises can be important and there can also be enhanced building regs requirements.
    There could also be situations where planning permission is needed though, as part of the development, for example creation of separate accesses, changes to the façade etc
    Utilities might well be happy to supply separate meters etc, but that will now be at your expense, both properties will have to be evaluated by the VOA for council tax.
    Whilst the actual development might technically be lawful, there still seems like a high degree of negligence on your conveyancers part here, if such simple things were missed I would be concerned about things such as the lease/freehold relationships.
    The developer obviously chose not to register each property correctly/separately.

    Get some proper legal advice here from a decent solicitor not from a no win no fee one
     
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