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  • Landlords in Distress

    Planning Enforcement Notice Advice

    First of all, I hope you had a lovely break with your family.

    Now, the outcome of an Appeal is probably not as relevant as the time it can give you to get your tenants out.

    So bear this in mind  (from the Planning Inspectorate website) -

    There’s no fee for appealing, unless you also apply for planning permission (which you're not gonna do)

    Deadline for appealing

    Your appeal must be received before the date the enforcement notice takes effect.

    When you can expect a decision

    Once your appeal has been validated, you’ll normally get a decision within 36 weeks.

    THIRTY SIX WEEKS THAT THE COUNCIL CAN'T TOUCH YOU!!!

    You won't need to pay a planning consultant to put in a 'token' appeal.

    Please think about this very carefully and talk to the Planning Inspectorate for guidance - they are very helpful people.

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    Brilliant feedback thanks @Anotherjohn

    Based on your advice, I am drafting the appeal letter now my first draft is as follows any suggestions / advice would be very welcome..

    Dear XXXX

    We are in receipt of Planning Enforcement Notice REF XXXXX from XXXX Council Planning in regards to the property at XXXXX.

    We have been in communication with XXXX Council planning officer XXXX for several months regarding some of the issues outlined in the planning Enforcement Notice. As per communications to her, we have outlined our intentions to comply with the following points:

    ·         Cease the use of the property as two self-contained flats

    ·         Remove all but one of the kitchens and kitchen related facilities

    ·         Return the property to a single dwelling

    We intend to achieve this by removing the first floor kitchen facilities including the cooker, extractor hood, sink and their associated gas piping and waste connections. However we would like to retain the base units and worktop surfaces for storage purposes if possible as they came at considerable expense and do not contravene any breaches. We understand that this would be sufficient to satisfy point (ii) from the Enforcement Notice.

    We also intend to remove all short term tenancy agreements relating to the self contained flats.

    Once these two processed have been completed, we understand the property will have been returned to a single dwelling, satisfying point (i) from the Enforcement Notice. All resultant debris will be removed from the property, as per point (v) in the remediation steps.

    Within the Planning Enforcement Notice we note that the actions requested now exceed the above instructions. This is highly unexpected, considering that we had already made efforts to communicate with XXXX Council and begin remediation of the above stated issues. On this basis, we intend to appeal on the following matters.

    With regards to the remediation action (iii) outlined in the planning Enforcement Notice relating to the “removal of all but one bathroom and bathroom related facilities.” We wish to appeal under sections 174 (2) of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 ©, (d) and (f).

    We do not believe there are any grounds outlined that constitute a breach in terms of the number of bathrooms that are permitted in the property. To our understanding, planning regulations do not restrict the number of bathrooms that can exist in any property and that bathrooms do not require planning permission. In addition, a licensed HMO property of this size (5 bedrooms) requires multiple bathrooms to function and the removal of all but one bathroom would cause a significant decline in the standard of living for anyone in the property. At no point during prior correspondence with planning officers have the number of bathrooms in the property been raised as an issue. There are no reasons given in the planning enforcement notice for the removal of the bathrooms.

    With regards to remediation action (iv) outlined in the planning Enforcement Notice relating to “Remove the hardstanding to the front of the property and replace with soft landscaping.” We wish to appeal under sec sections 174 (2) of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 © and (f).

    It should be noted that no hardstanding exists to the front of this property, and that to the front of the property is a garden wall and flower bed, neither of which have been replaced with hardstanding.

    Additionally, in prior verbal conversations with planning officer XXXX regarding this issue, it was stated that satisfying point (i) from the Enforcement Notice would negate the applicability of the hardstanding issue, as a house would be permitted to retain hardstanding in its grounds. As we intend to ensure that XXXX should be returned to a house in accordinace with point (i) and point (ii) we feel that this is sufficient to meet this requirement.

    While we are willing to comply with the change of property back to a single dwelling and removal of two self contained flats, we would like to note that we disagree with the councils assertion that the property is not suitable to be utilised as two flats.

    Under their reasons for the denial of permission as flats they have listed:

    (b) “The net original internal floor area of the property is less than 130 square meters and therefore unsuitable for conversion in principle”

    We understand the original property prior to 2014 may have been under 130 sq m it has been well in excess of this size since then and is much bigger than most flats being built in the local area to date.

    © “The flats fail to meet minimum internal space standards and are not provided with adequate access to private and communal amenity space  and therefore the conversion provides cramped and substandard quality of accommodation for current and future occupants”

    We believe the flats more than satisfy internal space standards and do sufficient access to private and communal amenity space.

    (d) “The conversion fails to provide adequate cycle parking space and facilities for the storage of waste and recycling contrary to Local Plan policies EC2”

    We believe the large areas of hardstanding to the side and rear of the property offer more than adequate cycle parking space and facilities for the storage of waste and recycling.

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    Brilliant news!

    I'm running around like a lunatic at the moment so I haven't had a chance to properly digest your draft appeal, but, if I may say, its chance of success or failure is secondary to the fact that the duration of the appeal process will give you time to legally evict your tenants - rather than face a situation whereby you might be forced into paying them compensation.

    So, most importantly, as time is of the essence here, you need to make sure that your appeal is complete and it gets validated before the deadline.

    Best of luck with it - and hopefully the experts on here might be able to guide you further.

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    Thanks, any other feedback would be appreciated, we really want the appeal to be upheld at least on the bathroom issue and partially on the hardstanding, but the rest we want to comply with.

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    Any other advice on our draft response? We would really appreciate any input at all..

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