We are, seemingly, moving towards a “new normal” with Covid-19 measures and it has been a few weeks since the housing market was allowed to re-open.  So, what has happened since then?  A Rightmove survey carried out between 21st and 26th May 2020 found that home moving priorities have now shifted – for both lettings and sales.

39% of buyers said they are now looking for a bigger garden, a bigger home, access to parking/garage, a better home workspace and green spaces nearby.  49% of tenants said they are also looking for a bigger garden, bigger home, parking/garage and green spaces nearby.  They also wanted a pet-friendly space.

Based on the above I would also imagine that many people, even if they are not looking to move, have re-considered their space and options within their existing home.  It is only natural given the volume of time we have spent in them in the last three months or so.  Our homes became our workspace, gym, social space, school and everything in between in a very short space of time!

So if you are a potential seller, looking to maximise your property value, a potential buyer looking at what options a property may give you or a landlord looking to alter your rental property what your options for creating more space?  There are differing routes to extending your home.  Many properties benefit from householder permitted development (PD) rights. PD rights are subject to limitations and conditions being met.  If you are looking at a project it is key to check whether the PD rights are still available (in some cases, they could have been removed and Listed Buildings will not benefit from such rights) and what has previously happened to the property – has it been extended previously?  What is the original dwelling?

If you are confident your project is permitted development, remember that whilst you may not need planning consent, you will still need to apply to Building Control for Building Regulations approval.  Even if you don’t need planning consent it is good practice to apply to your local council for a Certificate of Lawfulness to certify that the proposal is PD – this is a useful piece of paper to have when it comes to selling your property, and one which can avoid costly mistakes.  Last year the government did make the then temporary increases to householder PD permanent.  The larger, single storey, extensions (over 4m and up to 8m for detached houses and over 3m and up to 6m for all other houses) are subject to a prior approval: Larger Home Extension process which means details must be submitted to the Council prior to construction.

If your proposal is not PD?  You will need to apply for planning consent as a Householder Planning Application.  These are relatively simple to prepare if you are clear on the parameters you can work within and any relevant design guides, which are a material consideration, such as the 45-degree code which seeks to protect neighbouring amenity.  Any changes to listed buildings will need Listed Building Consent.

As you can see, there are several options for increasing the size of a property, but it is important you are clear on the property history, rights and limitations of PD when considering a project.  It  really is better to check as I have previously said in similar news posts earlier this year (see “But [insert name] said it was permitted development…” article on the website, 13th March 2020).

Bigger gardens?  If you are fortunate enough to live in a rural location/edge of town location in some cases (and it really is each case on its own merits), there is sometimes scope to purchase small parcels of land, or even up awkward field boundaries, from local farmers to increase the size of your garden (but this is subject to a change of use consent from agricultural to residential).  If you have already done this, but never secured a change of use, consider whether you could regularise this with a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use (based on ten years use) to prevent enforcement action or issues with a sale in the future.

If you need further advice,  I can do anything and everything from a basic brief to check and confirm your parameters for a project all the way through to one of the varying application types on your behalf.  If you are buying a property, I can check what your options are against your objectives for the property you are looking to buy as pre-sale advice.  If you are selling, you could consider doing a certificate of lawfulness/securing planning consent for an extension to demonstrate to your buyers what options there are for the property being sold.  Giving your buyers confidence when they are comparing those on their short-list can certainly tick a box and assist a sale.

Feel free to get in touch if you think I can help and happy house extending!