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Selling a House Without Planning Permission – Our Essential Guide

Selling a house without planning permission or building regulation can be a real pain on the open market.  But it does not have to be with Property Saviour.

If you are selling a house that needs planning permission and do not have approval from the council, the chances of a quick sale are slim. You had an extension carried out and did not get building regulations or planning permission, or your builder said you don’t need it.

If you are trying to sell your home without planning permission, did you know it is un-mortgageable?

That is right. Properties are unmortgageable if they have had illegal extensions carried out without the permission of the local council’s planning department. 

So, what should you do if you have made alterations to your home that should have had planning permission and you want to sell?  You can sell your home using our we buy any house service within a few weeks.  We will then have to deal with any possible enforcement action by the council.

Read our guide and discover the possible outcomes and solutions to your planning permission problems.

Table of Contents

Is it illegal to sell a house without planning permission?

If you have lived in your home for a number of years, it is likely that you will have made some alterations to the structure of the building.

Whether it be a conservatory for an extra living room or a conversion in the loft, those small structural changes need approval from the local council in most cases.

If you ask any council, they will tell you that it is illegal, and they can issue an enforcement notice against you – demanding that you demolish your extension or conservatory and restore the house to its original condition.

Can you sell a house without building regs?

Whether you have decided to make a larger bedroom into two separate bedrooms or add a conservatory to your home, it will require at least building regulation.  Often, homeowners think they can carry out improvements under permitted development.

Permitted development rules are precise, and you could have breached them if your home improvements were extensive.

What are the rules for permitted development?

The legislation set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 as amended by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (England) Order 2008 gives full details of the changes you can and can’t make without planning permission.

Permitted development means you can add an extension to the side or rear of your house, providing its volume is less than 15% of the size of the original house. If your house is part of a terrace, the permitted size is less than 10% of the original volume.

This is where the rules become complex, for instance:

  1. If your home extension takes up more than 50% of your garden or
  2. It is higher than the original roof height or
  3. More than 115 cubic meters, then planning permission must be applied.

There are complex rules relating to the depth of the extensions and their distance from the boundary of neighbouring property.  Listed buildings or houses within a conversation area will almost always require planning permission. 

Even minor improvements will require a building regulation certificate.

What to do if you are trying to sell a home without planning permission?

When trying to sell a house without planning permission or council approval, there are several options. 

Get retrospective planning approval

One way to break the vicious circle is to obtain planning permission or approval from the council before going ahead with a sale or putting your home on the market.

However, there are some drawbacks to this, as the regularisation process cannot be used for work carried out before October 1985.

The process is a double-edged sword as what might have been thought to have been a simple lack of paperwork may become much more complex and expensive to rectify. When the remedial work is not undertaken, a Certificate of Regularisation will not be issued, and it is unlikely a buyer will want to get involved in such a sticky situation.

Getting council approval is expensive

It can also be expensive. Approved Inspectors are not authorised to undertake this work, and the council will charge for the service they provide.

In an even worse case scenario, the council may request you restore the structure of the building back to its original state. This not only costs thousands of pounds and months of time, but it could also massively decrease the value of your property, and it is a risk that many people aren’t willing to take.

It can also take months to get approval

If you want a fast house sale, seeking approval will not be quick or easy. It can take months for the council or inspectors to contact you regarding your request, and even then, there is still no guarantee of approval.

If you do not have time to hang around, here is what to do.

What do other sellers in a similar situation do? They let us help.

Let us help

If you are struggling to sell a house without planning permission or council approval and do not want to go through the expensive, time-consuming task of getting it regulated, Property Saviour can help.

We understand that sometimes you do not have time to wait, and you cannot risk putting your house on the market without knowing you’ll walk away with a fair price and a guaranteed sale.

Sellers consider auctions, but that is just as risky with no guarantee of a sale, not to mention very expensive upfront costs. 

What do we do at Property Saviour?

At Property Saviour, we buy any home regardless of the condition and we do not mind if there are unsolved planning regulations.

We buy properties for personal use, not on behalf of investors, and we promise to give you the fastest sale on the property market – with a turnaround time of just 10 days.

We also understand that the value of your home is incredibly important, and we would not want to see you walk away out of pocket.  We will even pay £1,500 towards your legal fees.

If you are in a real hurry, we offer a house clearance service completely free of charge. We do this because we want selling your home to be easy, and stress-free, and, most importantly, because we care.

If you are thinking of selling your home and your buyer hasn’t instructed searches or contacted the council, he/she maybe able to get an insurance policy for lack of building regulations.  Please get independent legal advice.

Yes – provided that you can’t insure against lack of building regulations, you can appoint a local Architect to help you obtain building regulations retrospectively.  However, you may have to carry out the building works to ensure that the building is compliant.

You are responsible for providing a building regulations certificate when selling a property.  Your local authority is responsible for inspecting and issuing building regulation compliance certificates.

You’d have to contact your local council’s building regulation department to ask them for a copy.  There maybe a fee to pay.  However, once you have enquired, you can’t then insure against possibility of lack of building regulations should you decide to sell in future.  Always consult your solicitors for professional legal advice.

You can request a copy of building regulations from your local council’s building control’s department – if it exists.  You can sell your home without building regulations to Property Saviour.

It depends on your circumstances.  Ask your solicitor if you can buy indemnity insurance for lack of completion certificates or FENSA.  But if you’ve been a busy bee with making enquiries, it may not be possible.  Get professional legal advice.  We will buy any house.

Yes you can but only to a cash house buyer such as Property Saviour.  Completion certificate is an important document that satisfy a lender that your home is suitable as a mortgage security – allowing your buyer the ability to buy.

You could be prosecuted by your local authority, fined and be ordered to demolish or restore the property to its original state before works started.

Yes you or the previous owner could be fined in the court for failure to regularise the building regulations standards.

Cost of retrospective building regulation certificate includes fee payable to the local council, a builder for any building works required and an Architect for any drawings required.

If you are selling your home and your windows were fitted by a non FENSA registered installer then you will need to apply for building regulations from your local council.

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