Permitted Development Rights Considerations When Buying or Selling at Auction

When buying and selling property at auction, it can be helpful to understand what permitted development rights (PDRs) are available. This can allow you to add value to a property and improve it for living in, letting or selling.

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights allow certain types of work to be undertaken without the need to apply for planning permission. It comes from the General Permitted Development Order, and these rights are given to you by Parliament that bypass your local authority.

Not having to apply for permission can save you time and money, in addition to providing certainty since you don’t have to worry about being refused for planning permission.

Permitted development can involve improvement projects, such as an extension, converting a loft or garage and adding a new storey to a property. Each type of development for permitted development is broken down into classes. Class A is for extensions, while Class C is for roof alterations and Class E is for outbuildings.

Permitted development rights were expanded in recent years, but there are restrictions on these rights. It’s important that you know what size limits and other rules you need to abide by whether you’re doing an extension, conversion or renovation.

Mark Doodes of Mark Doodes Planning tells us: “It’s important from the outset to make sure that you do have those permitted development rights. And in most cases, you do. But in a sizeable minority of cases, you may not.”

What exceptions are there to consider?

Permitted development rules vary in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These can change frequently and can differ across local authorities too.

There are also designated areas, such as Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites and National Parks, where permitted development rights are more restricted. This means you’d need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas.

On top of that, permitted development rights can be removed from a specific property. Doodes shares: “The most common way that permitted development rights have been removed is through a previous planning application that could have been made by a previous occupier of the dwelling. That could be from 5, 10 or 25 years ago, and that could have even been from a seemingly unrelated application.”

Tips to help you understand your permitted development rights

If you are interested in buying a property at auction and renovating it, it can be helpful to understand the permitted development rights it has. And if you’re selling, it can be an important consideration as well, particularly if you want to add value before the property goes under the hammer.

Here are some tips to help you figure out and understand permitted development rights for a specific property!

Research is key

Check out the Planning Portal to help you figure out if you need planning permission for the work you’re interested in doing. This website can also help you understand any responsibilities you should consider before starting work and other permissions you may be required to get.

It may be beneficial to reach out to the local planning authority too to ensure you understand all of the relevant restrictions and guidelines for the specific area and property.

Look at previous planning permissions

To understand whether the permitted development rights are still intact, you need to check the full planning permission history of the site to see if any rights have been removed over the years.

Documentation relating to planning permissions and building controls are usually included in auction legal packs. But it’s still recommended to look up any planning permissions for the plot yourself to ensure you don’t miss anything relevant. To look up previous planning applications, visit the local housing authority’s website.

Consider getting a certificate of lawfulness

If you undertake work through permitted development rights, it can be helpful to get a certificate of lawfulness. This is a formal certification confirming that the work didn’t require planning permission. Problems can arise when letting the property out or selling if you don’t have proof that you didn’t require planning permission for the works.

For example, a surveyor hired by a prospective buyer may notice an outbuilding that’s been erected in the garden. That could lead to questions as to whether or not it required planning permission, and you may be asked to provide proof.

Mark Doodes adds: “This process can be really stressful and can cause problems when trying to sell your property. And if you end up having to pull together a planning or certificate of lawfulness application and submit it to the council, it might take two, three or four months depending on the district or borough council’s workload at the time.”

Not having a certificate of lawfulness in place could end up impacting your ability to sell, which could be particularly frustrating if you’re needing to sell your property quickly at property auction.

Hire a chartered planning consultant

Before starting on any work, it’s recommended to seek advice from a chartered planning consultant. This can help you understand what’s considered permitted development for this specific property and any guidelines and rules you are required to follow.

Thoroughly doing your research and due diligence and working with a planning expert can allow you to minimise any risks related to permitted development rights when buying or selling at property auction.

Permitted Development Project - Executed by Mint Builders of Essex