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What do we own?

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by IsleOfWighter, 13 Mar 2018.

  1. IsleOfWighter

    IsleOfWighter

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    Hi - any input would be appreciated:

    Permitted development only applies to houses, not flats or apartments.

    We own an entire physical building, three stories high.
    The INSIDE of the top two floors are subject to a 1000 year lease, owned by another family. It has it's own access. There are no shared spaces.
    The lease stipulates that we own the roof, exterior walls etc.
    ie. it is physically our entire building - we are the ones legally obliged to insure the whole thing.

    We then live in the ground floor.

    My question is, as far as permitted development is concerned - do we own a house or a flat?

    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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  4. lt8480

    lt8480

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    It sounds like from a legal point of view you own the freehold (as well as the leasehold) but for Permitted Development it still counts as a flat whether you own the freehold or not and therefore PD doesn't apply.
     
  5. IsleOfWighter

    IsleOfWighter

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    Hi - thanks for the quick replies - much appreciated.

    It8480 - you say "as well as the leasehold" but that it not the case.

    When the house was split, only a single leasehold was drawn up for the part that the owner no longer lived in.

    What we own is then simply the entire freehold.

    It's an "unusual" arrangement, granted. Does that change your view?

    Thanks :)
     
  6. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Well it's certainly not a house so you don't own a house - unless you own a house somewhere else.
     
  7. IsleOfWighter

    IsleOfWighter

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    Thanks,

    I do understand, honest. :)

    It's just kind of interesting. Imagine the following:

    You own a traditional four story house, sat on and surrounded by your own land.
    a) You have PD rights.
    You create a leasehold for just the inside of the top floor.
    b) You still have PD rights(?)
    You redo the leasehold to cover the top three floors.
    c) You now no longer have PD rights(?)

    It just seems a little 'surprising' is all.
     
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  9. IsleOfWighter

    IsleOfWighter

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    Hi - I think I've finally tracked down a good official definition:

    QUOTE FROM gov.uk
    --------------

    A flat is very difficult to define and there are many types. However, the Building Regulations 2000 (SI 2000 no.2531) give the following definition:

    • ‘A flat is a separate and self-contained premises constructed or adapted for use for residential purposes and forming part of a building from some other part of which it is divided horizontally.’
    In other words, flats have to be contained within a dwelling with at least two storeys. Flats include maisonettes; maisonettes are flats containing more than one storey.

    --------
    END QUOTE

    Thanks for the feedback.
    In my example in the previous post then at point b) you do loose PD rights, as you now have a maisonette.
     
  10. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Is an apartment a flat?

    Can a maisonette be made up of several apartments.

    What are bedsits?

    Can a bungalow be divided into flats?

    Or is just any building containing separate self-contained residential dwellings a block and the dwellings "flats"? Then marketing takes over.
     
  11. lt8480

    lt8480

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    In summary the legal ownership and the planning view is not related.

    For PD you basically need to own all areas within a site with no-one else above or below.

    Usually this is a freehold house without any leaseholders (but you could say own a whole house under leasehold and have PD rights).

    If you own a dwelling with another separate unit (whether dwelling, office, workshop) over or below it then your own a flat irrespective of how they are owned.

    To understand the reasoning just imagine if you built a two storey extension behind your house using PD (you after all own everything not in the leasehold) and it blocked windows to the leasehold flat. - Obviously that wouldn't be fair.
     
  12. clifford1

    clifford1

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    So if you have a basement and convert it into a separate granny annexe then you have changed your house into a flat? Buckingham Palace is a flat because it doubtless has self-contained servants' quarters ?
     
  13. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Do these quarters have there own address, meters, council tax, and registered at the land registry as dwellings?
     
  14. lt8480

    lt8480

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    As woody queries would depend if they are strictly their own dwellings or annexes to the main building which a granny flat usually is. I suspect Buckingham Palace hasn't subdivided and sold off small units. In any case its listed so PD wouldn't really be that useful.

    But yes, if you turned your basement into a separate dwelling, gave it a separate address, meters etc. then yes your "house" is a flat in terms of planing/PD. As noted previously the reason being is otherwise the risk is PD adversely affects the other properties, say in this instance you could probably build over the lightwell that serves light to the flat below.
     
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