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We have just completed on a mixed use building which contains 2 x retail units, 1 x workshop/unit and 2 floors above with historical planning permission for 3 flats.
Questions are as follows:
1) The previous owner sold the building with the flats unfinished, but looks like very recent building works. We cannot prove (nor can the council) that the historical planning permission was ever implemented as the building has changed owners twice since then. If it wasn't, it will by now have lapsed. Q: Can we continue the works and try to argue that the works are mere renovation/upgrade works and not conversion to avoid having to get new planning permission?
2) We intend to refinance to pull money out. For this we are considering title splitting. Q: How easy is this to do? Does anyone have a good reference they can guide me to? What complications might this cause if we have no planning permission history? The latest records the council have (which cannot be proved) are from 1992.
Any advice you can give would be much appreciated!!
on 1) you need very little to preserve the planning. The usual colloquial phrase is just a spade in the ground so if it appears that they have started the works then you are fine. In fact the planning conditions will usually state a timeframe to commence the planning (not complete it).
On 2) Title splitting is very much more a legal area but its not difficult to do. As to the planing aspect that applies to the underlying title and the split titles will I believe inherit their obligations with respect to the planning. I would have thought you still have planning permission as the works were started and in in doubt there is probably insurance or a legal opinion you can secure to get lender's comfortable.
Chartered Accountant, Tax Advisor and Mortgage broker
(and BTL portfolio owner)
True. An indemnity policy against possible enforcement (Building Control or Planning) action is common
I would finish the work to Building Control standards of 1992 and get a private company to sign off the work. This will make splitting titles for future sales easier. The indemnity route is more useful for the converted freehold sale as a whole
Thanks both!! @AvenuesLandlord any chance i you have a few minutes spare for me to pick your brains? If you are willing, can you message me your contact details please? I cant send any private messages on hereyet...