retrospective planning and building control

D

dextrous

We have just been bequethed a Victorian house which we wish to register as multiple occupancy and continue to rent out as bedsits (some self contained).

Prior to his death last year, my father (a Pole himself) had work done by Polish builders, including installation of ensuites, fitted kitchens within the rooms (with plug-in ovens and "table top" hobs, plus sinks. He also had a small timber framed extention with a fitted kitchen installed. He also added a new soil stack into an existing inspection chamber which has been covered with the timber floor within this extention. Being the man that he was, none of this had gone through planning nor checked by building control, and there are no receipts for the cash-in-hand work completed.

So, how do we go about regularising this work, and what are the possible implications for the structures as they stand (the extention is well under 4m permitted development in size). From what I've seen, the work seems to have been completed to a good standard, with new stud walls having been insulated and rooms adequately ventilated. He had the house rewired independently after a recent house fire, again with no certification, having used cash released by the insurers for this purpose. We have had the wiring checked through a periodical, and have acted upon the recommendations made and they were happy with the quality of the installation (although they obviously couldn't lift flooboards to check cable runs etc). We have also had a gas landlord certificate - again the work done here is safe and to a good standard.

At the time of my mother's death a few weeks ago, there were (and are) several tenants within these rooms, and we are hoping that they will not have to be turfed out. Although, without seeing the building, it is impossible for anyone to be exact, what is the likelihood that we will have to empty the house whilst any necessary adjustments are made, or will we be given a period to make good any errors whilst they remain in occupation, especially if we take advice from the local fire officer and/or BCO with regard to fire safety and act immediately upon this to ensure the tenant's safety (which must be the most important aspect of the whole process)? Would our doing this demonstrate our intentions and make the local council more likely to provide some leeway?
 
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You don't need to get any of this regularised, or get any retrospective permission.

You only need to comply with any requirements related to the letting of multiple occupancy units - mainly fire and means of escape
 
D

dextrous

You don't need to get any of this regularised, or get any retrospective permission.

You only need to comply with any requirements related to the letting of multiple occupancy units - mainly fire and means of escape

I think I love you and want to have your children!! :LOL: :LOL:
 
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If there was a change of use, the 10 year rule will apply, if the council get wind of it! When was the conversion?
 
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D

dextrous

If there was a change of use, the 10 year rule will apply, if the council get wind of it! When was the conversion?

All within the last 3 years. What does the 10 year rule mean? Since we have been bequethed it, how does this affect us? I'm not convinced that I'm going to love you too!!! :eek:
 
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Technically:

To make something lawful like an extension (which required planning permission when the work was done) the 4 year rule applies ie after 4 years it becomes lawful and the council can't do jack.

To make something lawful when its a change of use (which as in your case going from a single dwelling to multiple ocupancy would require a change of use app) the 10 year rule generally applies whereby it only becomes lawful by default after 10 years. So, if the council gets wind of it they can demand you apply for permission. In my experience if they they find out and they support it they'll ask you to apply for retrospecive permission, if they won't support it they can apply an enformcement order. But after 10 years it becomes lawful and the council can't do jack.

However, in reality depending on your local authrity IMO its a bit of a grey area whether they'd apply the 4 or 10 year rule for change of use, where I live (Plymouth) its the 10 year period they apply.

Having said all that, if the conversion was carried out only 3 years ago the council can easily apply the 4 year rule irresespective of the 10 year rule. Generally council tax should be paid for each bedsit unless the ocupants are students so they will likely care if they do ever find out.

All depends if they find out.
 
D

dextrous

How can they demand planning permission for the extention and previous works from us if we have only just taken ownership and the work was done by the previous owners, who are now deceased?
 
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Sorry to sound harsh, but because it's unlawful. But only if they contact you! Ownership of houses is the same as buying a car with a duff MOT, responsibility to regularize works (if required) falls on the new owners following a sale. Buyer or in this case heir beware. Ordinarily in a house purchase the surveyor/solicitors would have brought this to the buyers attention and the owness would be on the seller to regularize the works or the buyer would take a chance but obviously your circumstances are a bit different. Are you actively going to make it legal or see if you can leave it to get under the radar? Has the council contacted you?
 
D

dextrous

We intend to actively make it legal so we can sleep easily at night. If the work had been done a lot longer ago, we may have been tempted to defer it until the 10 year rule meant we would be in the clear. There's no point me arguing any points with you, since you're not going to be the one making the call.

We will have to apply and live in hope that any necessary upgrades don't cost an arm and a leg. It will mean borrowing against the house, which will mean less profit for us in the short term, but in the long term it's for the best and it's better to play it safe.

Thanks to yourself and woody for your comments. You never know, we may be lucky. After all, councils aren't run by jobsworths who are happy to apply as many charges as they think they can get away with to furnish their plush offices :eek: ;)
 
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There was a saying at work "Best not to ask the question because then they can say no" also "its a lot easier to apologise & claim ignorance than to beg beforehand" :D

Generally talking about if the whole department could have a xmas meal during lunch break or when buying expensive items without asking the wifes permission, but the principle still stands.

Just take it over as is & carry on, your from Barcelona aren't you? :D
 
D

dextrous

There was a saying at work "Best not to ask the question because then they can say no" also "its a lot easier to apologise & claim ignorance than to beg beforehand" :D

Generally talking about if the whole department could have a xmas meal during lunch break or when buying expensive items without asking the wifes permission, but the principle still stands.

Just take it over as is & carry on, your from Barcelona aren't you? :D

Unfortunately, my catholic guilt complex will not allow this. We will hope for the best and prepare for the worse.
 
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Aye, we all handle these things differently, personally I'd like a totally risk free life whereas others are happy to take on many risks. We're all different.
 

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