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What is an Enforcement Notice from Council?

Property Saviour » Planning Permission » What is an Enforcement Notice from Council?

Selling a house with an enforcement notice is not easy. If you have recently been issued with an enforcement notice and you want to sell your property, you may have a tough time getting past the regulations.

It will cost you a lot of money to put the problem right and satisfy the demands of your local council.  Not to mention the stress that it will put you and your loved ones through. Enforcement notices are very similar to prohibition orders, as they are both applied to the property, even if ownership changes.

If you need a quick house sale, we will explain all the possible options and how we can help you make the right choice. We buy any property, even if it has an enforcement notice – so we could be the solution to your problem.

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What is an enforcement notice from council?

Enforcement Notices are legal documents issued by the council if there has been a breach of planning control. In other words, they are issued where development such as an extension or building works has taken place without the correct planning permission or outside the conditions of a planning permission.

A Planning Enforcement Notice can require you to take steps such as:

  • to alter a building or remove it completely.
  • to reinstate a building that has been demolished.
  • to cease an activity that is being carried on.
  • to secure compliance with any conditions imposed on planning permission.

The actual steps required will depend on the breach of planning control that the Council believe to have occurred. If you are looking to sell a property with an enforcement notice, the time is not on your side. If the Council get involved to get any work done to the property, the cost is usually substantially higher than having work done privately.

Depending on what steps you are required to take, the truth is, it’s going to be expensive and you’re going to lose out on thousands of pounds.

It makes sense that you would want to sell your property in this situation – but who would want to buy it apart from Property Saviour?

As mentioned, we buy any property regardless of the condition, meaning we can clean this mess up for you and you will walk away within 10 days with cash in your pocket.

If you are trying to sell a property that has an outstanding enforcement notice, you may be getting yourself and the buyer into a whole lot of trouble. This is because an enforcement notice is always against the property and not the individual buyer or seller.

If you have breached planning conditions or worst not applied for planning permission then council will issue an enforcement notice.

Types of enforcement notices

These are different types of enforcement notices:

Planning contravention notice

This notice requires an owner to supply information on the use or occupation of a property. It may also state the remedial works required to address a planning violation.

This could include a warning to stop the development or an invitation to make a retrospective application. It is illegal to ignore a planning contravention order or to provide incorrect information.

Breach of condition notice

This notice applies to developments that breach planning conditions or limitations, usually where this is detrimental to local amenities, and public safety or likely to cause serious environmental harm. Anyone who has been served with a breach of condition notice must comply within 28 days. It is an offence to refuse to comply.

An offender can be prosecuted at the Magistrates’ Court and fined up to £1,000. If you receive a breach of condition notice and are worried about what to do, please contact the planning authority directly or seek independent advice from a solicitor or other professional adviser.

Enforcement notice

This notice can be served when development has taken place without planning permission or in breach of a planning condition. It will state the steps that need to be taken by a given date to correct the planning breach.

If you receive an enforcement notice you should seek professional advice as quickly as possible. A person who fails to comply can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000 in the Magistrates Court, or an unlimited amount if the case goes before the Crown Court.

Stop notice

Stop notices can be used where the local planning authority needs to take immediate action on unauthorised development. It is an offence to continue any activity on the development once the notice comes into force. If you have received a stop notice, please seek advice from a solicitor or other professional adviser on planning.

A person who fails to comply with a stop notice can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000 in the Magistrates, or an unlimited amount if the case goes before the Crown Court. Stop notices are not commonly used by local planning authorities as they may have to pay compensation, if improperly used.


A local planning authority may apply for a court injunction if they consider that it is necessary to stop an actual or potential breach of planning control.

The court will normally only grant an injunction as a remedy of last resort. Failure to comply with an injunction will be treated as contempt of court and carries with it a prison term.

How long does an enforcement notice last
You only have four weeks to act once an enforcement notice has been issued to either appeal or apply for restrospective planning application.

What happens if you ignore a planning enforcement notice?

If you receive an enforcement notice and you want to sell your property, chances are you are not going to be successful – and if you ignore it you can get into a lot of trouble.

If the enforcement notice is not appealed or is ignored, then it is classified as an illegal offence and the planning authority can prosecute whoever is responsible.

If you continue to breach an enforcement notice after prosecution you can be prosecuted for further offences and fined a lot of money. The fine is set at a daily rate for the period the breach continues for which can add up to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Also, planning authorities can take what is called “direct action” to remove the development, e.g., demolish an unauthorised building, although normally such action is taken for the more major planning breaches.

An appeal can be made on multiple grounds. If you have been served with a Planning Enforcement Notice, it is essential to take urgent action. You may have as little as 28 days to appeal. We can advise on the validity of the Notice and what grounds of appeal would be the most successful to pursue.

Making an appeal can be time consuming, difficult, and often unsuccessful. If you don’t want this stress, let us help. We buy any property regardless of the enforcement notice and we promise a quick sale and a fair price.

How long does an enforcement notice last?

This depends on the council’s enforcement policies however a typical enforcement notice will give you at least four weeks before it comes into effect.  This is to allow you the right of a statutory right of appeal.

If no appeal is made then the notice comes into effect and you will notified of the compliance period which can vary from one month to six months – for land restoration or demolition.

Can an enforcement notice be withdrawn?

Councils will not usually discuss the withdrawal of the notice until you have submitted an appeal. They are also very unlikely to withdraw the notice if you have not appealed in time, or if the appeal has failed.

Enforcement appeals are expensive, stressful, and time-consuming for all parties. Councils know that many people do not appeal enforcement notices or do not put a convincing case forward in the appeal.

You could consider working with a specialist solicitor; however, this will cost you a lot of money and there is no guarantee of success, meaning you’ve lost thousands of pounds and are still in breach of the enforcement notice.

Often selling a house with enforcement notice can be difficult as no ordinary buyer would want to purchase a property that will have a huge bill attached to it. This is where a specialist buyer such as Property Saviour can help.

A house extension
Enforcement notices are issued against the property so change of ownership doesn't affect it.

On what grounds can you appeal an enforcement notice?

An enforcement notice is issued due to a breach of planning conditions or where no planning has been obtained. 

If you are considering appealing this, consult a planning consultant to see if you have genuine grounds for appeal.

How can we help?

We’ll buy your property even with an outstanding enforcement notice, saving you time, money, worry and the risk of prosecution.  More importantly, the enforcement notice applies to the property even if you sell it!  Failure to comply with an enforcement notice could result in demolition.  You can’t ignore an enforcement notice and, therefore, must act now.

Please note, in order for us to buy a house without planning permission, we will need to buy it at a discount.

We’ll offer you a fair price, pay £1,500 towards your legal fees, and deal with any uncertainty you have with regard to selling your property.

If you feel you would benefit from speaking to one of our expert advisors about your enforcement notice and the risks associated with selling, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

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