Property owners need to read up on when restrictions do and don’t apply and how this affects their neighbours in terms of consultation, according to Stacks Property Search.
The crux of the changes surrounds the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) which allow home owners to carry out certain changes without planning permission. Recent legislation extended the GPDO in order to stimulate the economy by encouraging home owners to spend money on their properties.
‘The most significant changes are to the size limit for the depth of single storey domestic extensions in non protected areas. This has increased from four metres to eight metres for detached houses and from three metres to six metres for all other houses,’ explained Linda Jeffcoat of Stacks Property Search.
She pointed out that the rule that restricts an extension to no more than 50% of the property's curtilage remains and there are restrictions as to the height of extensions that must be adhered to. To further confuse the issue, the rules that came into force on 30th May 2013 are time limited and expire on the 30th May 2016.
‘Where this relaxation becomes really interesting is in terms of buying a property that requires improvement, and has potential for extending. Historically, properties that have potential were in strong demand but the recession changed all that, and buyers became cautious about taking on projects that could turn into terrifying money pits,’ said Jeffcoat.
‘These days there is much less competition for what the estate agents like to call exciting projects and the auction houses are no longer full of eager, and sometimes naïve, bidders for rural wrecks,’ she pointed out.
‘There are of course enormous advantages to buying a property that requires anything from a facelift to a complete overhaul. Buyers can customise the property to suit their own requirements without having to rip out work that they have effectively paid for within the purchase price. And the improvement element of the property doesn't carry stamp duty, so substantial savings can be made in that respect.
‘But the greatest hurdle for buyers, and the reason that the auction rooms are rather less crowded post 2007, is that finance is extremely difficult to come by for property that requires work. Lenders like to be able to see an exit strategy if a borrower defaults, and a half finished project is a headache that can be easily avoided by rejecting finance requests on property that is at the uninhabitable end of the spectrum,’ she added.
The result is that the market is opened to buyers who are cash rich and who don't require a high loan to value. ‘If you're lucky enough to be in that position and have a taste for a Grand Designs type adventure, then...